For Erickson, this could be end of the line

Mets manager Art Howe isn't exactly enamored of righthander Jae Seo – that much is no great secret. <P> But the Mets' current options for replacing Seo, who is 3-5 with a 4.84 ERA, seem to have dwindled by one on Saturday morning, hours after Scott Erickson appears to have punched his ticket out of town with a putrid performance for Triple-A Norfolk.

Making what will be his final rehab start for Norfolk last night, Erickson couldn't master the Scranton Wilkes-Barre lineup, serving up seven runs and eight hits in six innings, walking four and striking out six.

The start was Erickson's fifth at the Triple-A level and none were especially exceptional; in the five starts, Erickson was 1-3 with a 6.29 ERA, including a losing effort on Friday.

The Mets must contractually reach a decision regarding what to do with Erickson by Monday, and obviously his Major League stuff is not up to snuff at this point – at least not to the point where he could replace Seo in New York's rotation.

That would also seem to short-circuit the possibility of a trade involving Erickson, which means the Mets will probably release the 36-year-old righthander by Monday.

Because Erickson has been on the Major League disabled list since April 8, when he strained a hamstring 11 minutes into his warmup at Atlanta's Turner Field, he has been earning a full Major League salary since that date.

He missed all of 2003 after undergoing surgery to repair a torn labrum.

WASHED AWAY: The Mets' and Yankees' pitching rotations for this weekend remain intact after Friday's rainout, which means Al Leiter will oppose Brad Halsey Saturday afternoon.

Steve Trachsel gets the nod in the day game Sunday against Jose Conteras, while Matt Ginter makes his first start against the Yankees on Sunday night, taking on Mike Mussina.

All tickets for Friday's washout will be honored Sunday afternoon or can be exchanged for a future Yankees home game.

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