Mets Notebook: Zeile raking

To think, Todd Zeile could easily be at his home in Thousand Oaks, Calif., a continent away from Shea Stadium and probably without a single baseball-related thought in his mind. <P> Zeile is proving that there's still plenty of life left in his 38-year-old body.

In New York's 10-6 win over the Braves Monday, Zeile raked singles in each of his first three at-bats, scoring two runs to help stake the Mets to a 10-0 advantage at one point.

He has flourished so far in his limited role, hitting .417 (5-for-12): not bad for a guy who said that, if the Mets hadn't come calling with a backup role, he would have faded off into baseball's sunset.

"I can be an everyday player somewhere, but that's not the role I'm in here," Zeile said. "I came into this final season knowing it's a final season, and not really having any goals or expectations, other than just being part of something and having fun doing it."

Disaster Doesn't Strike Twice

One start after seeing a 6-0 lead over the Braves go down the tubes in an 18-10 loss, starter Steve Trachsel made sure not to let the same thing happen again under his watch.

Trachsel and catcher Jason Phillips drilled the day's game plan into each other's heads repeatedly during Trachsel's six-inning effort yesterday, doing so for the first time after New York took a 3-0 lead in the second inning.

By the time the Mets had poured it on to a 7-0 lead after three innings, Trachsel and Phillips saw fit to reconvene and make sure the effort wasn't slacking. Losing that kind of advantage twice in less than a week would have been criminal.

"I think that was the key," said Trachsel, who allowed one run and four hits in the effort. "I tried to be a little smarter this time."

The game plan didn't come easily to Trachsel and Phillips. Atlanta's starting lineup was without several key players, including Chipper Jones and Rafael Furcal, so Trachsel had to delve into the Mets' scouting reports and dig out files on fill-ins DeWayne Wise and Jesse Garcia.

Oddly enough, the Braves were still able to bring the tying run to the plate in the ninth, as relievers Grant Roberts and Dan Wheeler both had ineffective outings. Braden Looper earned a two-pitch save, inducing Andruw Jones to hit into a game-ending double play.

Disabled Floyd feels "really good"

Outfielder Cliff Floyd, on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right quadriceps, is headed back to Port St. Lucie, Fla. for rehabilitation. He didn't sound too happy about it, referring to the Mets' spring training complex as a "hole."

Floyd couldn't predict how long he expected to be down in Florida, partially because his injury felt strangely healed with a night's rest. He had a MRI done this morning that confirmed a small Grade 1 tear in the muscle tissue and a good amount of swelling, but said that other than climbing stairs, everyday activities do not bother him.

"I feel really good," he said. "I know that sounds crazy, but I feel like I can walk and move around."

Piazza could play Wednesday

Mike Piazza was a scratch from the Mets' home opener, the result of a collision at first base with the Montreal Expos' Peter Bergeron Sunday in San Juan. Piazza said that he is experiencing stiffness in his head and neck, but expects to be well enough to play "in a day or two."

Ironically, Piazza's move to first base was supposed to make him more available in the lineup and reduce wear and tear on his body. So far, it hasn't done that: Piazza also missed time in spring training after hurting himself performing infield drills on a back field.

"It just goes to show it's a position you can't take for granted," Piazza said.

Boozer: Bring ‘Em Back

Count former Jets running back Emerson Boozer among those who'd like to see Gang Green relocate to Queens – perhaps at a new stadium built on or around the World's Fairgrounds – instead of Manhattan's West Side.

"Shea was home," said Boozer, who was on hand for the Mets' pregame festivities. "Clubs would come into Shea and we would protect our home. I don't think they have that feeling across the river (at the Meadowlands)."


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