Cameron's 30-30 pursuit hits snag

Mike Cameron's pursuit of a 30-30 season has probably fallen out of reach. <P> Cameron needs just one more home run to reach 30 for the year, but would need to go on a tear and steal eight bases in the Mets' final six games.

Cameron, 31, is playing out the schedule with an aching wrist, which of course would hamper his power hitting more than his running, but the outfielder hasn't stolen more than seven bases in any month this season. Eight in less than a week is a tall order.

In fact, Cameron has just one stolen base in the month of September. However, that one steal came in rather reckless fashion.

In the first inning of New York's game against the Braves on Sept. 16, Cameron led off the game with a double and swiped third base with none out.

If Cameron was gunned down there, he'd have been guilty of one of baseball's unwritten sins – never make the first or third out of any inning at third base – but he made it. The Mets went on to score seven runs in the first en route to a 9-4 win, so things worked out.

Cameron told reporters Wednesday that he is scheduled to have surgery on torn ligaments in his right hand two weeks after the season. He is hitting .233 with 29 homers and 79 RBI in 136 games with the Mets this year.

Mets Notes

  • The other two components of the Mets outfield, Cliff Floyd and Richard Hidalgo, are both likely done for the season. Floyd strained a ribcage muscle in New York's 8-7 win at Pittsburgh on Sept. 18, and Hidalgo – hitting just .114 in September – has been battling groin problems since April.

    The Mets are more likely to continue giving an extended look to Victor Diaz in right field over the final five games, trying to gauge if the organization could lean on Diaz as an everyday player in 2005.

    He's shown power and a knack for the big hit, slugging a clutch three-run homer with the Mets down to their final strike on Sunday, but his glove is a concern. Diaz dropped an easy fly ball on Friday against the Cubs at Shea.

  • Mets manager Art Howe told reporters Wednesday that he intends to use John Franco for one batter at Shea Stadium this weekend against the Expos, which will likely mark Franco's Mets farewell.

    Franco doesn't know if he wants to pitch again next season at age 44, but if he decides to, it probably won't be with the Mets. Franco has been buried in New York's bullpen most of the season, having last pitched on Sept. 4, and his role has been more as a defacto bullpen coach than anything else.


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