Expos at Mets Series Preview

The New York Mets complete their first homestand of the year as they take on the Montreal (San Juan?) Expos in a weekend series at Shea. In an attempt to offset low attendance in Montreal, Major League Baseball, owners of Les Expos, decided the franchise would play 22 "home" games in Puerto Rico during the 2003 season.

In fact, the Mets will be in San Juan next weekend for four games. This is most likely the final season for major league baseball in Montreal, as the franchise seems destined for an off-season move, either to Washington D.C./Northern Virginia, or Portland, Oregon. Both cities have presented ownership proposals to Major League Baseball representatives.

The Mets stumbled out of the gate, losing two of three to the Chicago Cubs, including a 15-2 drubbing on opening day. They will be without marquee catcher Mike Piazza until Sunday, completing his four-game suspension for a spring training brawl with Dodgers' reliever Guillermo Mota.

Pitching
Friday night figures to be an exciting night at Shea, no matter how you look at it. David Cone, out of baseball since 2001, makes his return to the Mets, for whom he starred from 1987 until his mid-season 1992 trade to the Toronto Blue Jays, in which the Mets acquired Ryan Thompson and Jeff Kent.

Cone was coaxed out of retirement by Al Leiter in the off-season, signed a minor league deal with the Mets, and made the roster out of Spring Training. He will be opposed by Tomo Ohka, who has a lifetime 0-3 record against the Mets.

The Saturday matinee will feature both team's opening day starters, as Tony Armas, who allowed one run on five hits in six innings during an opening day win over Atlanta, going for Montreal, and Tom Glavine going to the hill for the Mets. Glavine was booed off the mound by Mets' fans on opening day after allowing five runs on eight hits in his opening day loss to Chicago.

The series concludes Sunday, with the newly acquired Livian Hernandez making his first Expo start against Jae Seo, making his first major league start for the Mets.

Notes
The Mets remain in the hunt for the recently released Shane Reynolds, but appear to be running third behind Atlanta and St. Louis, who have both promised him immediate insertion into the rotation.

The Mets would demand Reynolds spend some time in Norfolk before joining the big club...The Expos demoted and claimed two former Mets before breaking camp. OF Damon Buford was send to the minor leagues, while P Dicky Gonzalez was claimed off waivers from the Red Sox...

The Mets' 15-2 loss on opening day was the most lopsided opener in the majors since the Chicago White Sox beat the St. Louis Browns 17-3 on April 17, 1951.


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