More injuries for hurting Mets

More injuries for hurting Mets

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- A bloody mess, it was. Corpuscles, plasma, cells -- red and white -- and all sorts of things that aren't supposed to leak from a person's forearm were doing precisely that on Sunday. Carlos Delgado hadn't taken one for the team so much as he had taken one from the team.

"A lot more blood than I wanted to see," Delgado said.

Yes, remarkably, the overworked "Met-ic" had yet another case to work -- another two, actually.

Delgado, in the role of "runner on third," had been struck on the right forearm by the splintered bat of teammate Brady Clark after Ramon Castro, the primary understudy for catcher Brian Schneider, had already had left the game, after stressing -- but not straining -- his right hamstring.

So goes Camp Triage. Delgado's injury might have bothered the squeamish, but Castro's situation may prove to be more of a bother if only because Schneider's malady, identical to Castro's, has kept him from playing in all but three games.

Castro is to have his hamstring examined through an MRI exam on Monday, which wouldn't be so bad if Schneider were baseball-upright or if Johnny Bench were on the New Orleans Zephyrs' roster.

Both the Mets and Schneider say that he could play if he had to, but he won't until Wednesday. And that's hardly guaranteed. Rest and treatment haven't yet had the desired effect. And even if Castro's MRI is negative, he will be sitting -- carefully -- for a few days.

That row of falling dominoes wearing shinguards brings the Mets to Raul Casanova and Robinson Cancel, who have the same initials as Castro and one other conspicuous similarity -- they can't run either.

The Mets have no obvious understudy for their big league backstops.

Clubs typically prefer to have their backup catcher be the most defensively sound of those available. If that were the case with the Mets, Gustavo Molina -- not related to the three big league brothers who also catch -- would be their first choice.

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But general manager Omar Minaya and manager Willie Randolph have indicated that Casanova probably would be the club's preference because his defense is comparable to Molina's and his offense -- Casanova is a switch-hitter -- more formidable.

Casanova, 35, has a .234 career average with 34 home runs and 124 RBIs in 1,026 at-bats in the big leagues. After playing parts of three seasons (1996-98) with the Tigers, he appeared in 190 games (188 with the Brewers, two with the Orioles) in 2000-02 but in merely six games, with the White Sox, in the subsequent three seasons. He was in the Minor Leagues with the White Sox, Red Sox, Rockies, Royals and A's. He played last season with the Rays and their Triple-A affiliate.

Molina, 26, played with the White Sox and Orioles last season, his first in the big leagues, batting .111 in 27 at-bats and catching 82 innings.

Cancel, unique in baseball history as a member of the all-verb team, is 31 and nine years removed from his 44-at-bat cup of coffee with the Brewers. He played last season with the Mets' Double-A and Triple-A affiliates. He has a .263 average and 71 home runs in 3,407 Minor League at-bats and a .182 average in the big leagues.

Even one of the Mets' three emergency catchers now is questionable for Opening Day. Randolph, who wants Jose Valentin on the roster for myriad reasons, now says Valentin is "behind the eight ball" in that regard because of the pinched nerve in the back of his neck. Valentin has merely five at-bats thus far.

Damion Easley and Marlon Anderson are the other emergency catchers likely to be on the roster, no matter who the two regular backstops are. Each would catch with the understanding that no pitcher would throw balls in the dirt, no opposing baserunners would take leads and the Mets have a real catcher overnighted to wherever the team is.

Marty Noble is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.