Inside Pitch: Back to Shea

After a six-game road trip to San Diego and Los Angeles, the Mets have Monday off before opening a six-game homestand. They will play three games against the Pirates, then three against the Nationals.

Other than the health of Carlos Beltran, the big question for the Mets will be how to best use their six starting pitchers.

Jae Weong Seo (4-1, 1.35 ERA) earned another start after throwing eight dominant innings against the Dodgers on Saturday. Pedro Martinez, Tom Glavine and Kris Benson aren't going anywhere, and the Mets remain committed to the inconsistent Victor Zambrano (6-9, 4.16 ERA).

But Steve Trachsel, who won 12 games last season, is due to be activated off the disabled list after making five minor league injury-rehab starts. Trachsel has been out all season after having back surgery in March.

Vice president of baseball operations Jim Duquette said the Mets have several options. They could use a six-man rotation, put Trachsel in the bullpen or trade one of the starters.

"We haven't figured it out yet," manager Willie Randolph said.


--RF Mike Cameron had surgery to repair his fractured cheekbones on Friday night, a day after his violent outfield collision with teammate Carlos Beltran.

Cameron was not expected to be cleared to travel for at least a week. He told teammate Cliff Floyd and manager Willie Randolph that he plans to play again this season.

"He seemed pretty optimistic when I talked to him that he'd be back," Randolph said. "When you look at the way they laid out, it could have been a lot worse."

Cameron was transported from Mercy Hospital in San Diego to the more prestigious Scripps Clinic in La Jolla, Calif., to have his surgery.

"We'll know more after we get an update from the doctors, but right now we're not looking at as season-ending," senior vice president of baseball operations Jim Duquette said. "The doctors were hesitant to put any timetable on it at this point."

Beltran, meanwhile, was released from Scripps and joined the team in Los Angeles late Friday night. He is unlikely to play before Tuesday or Wednesday as he recovers from a concussion.

Beltran was also diagnosed with a minimally displaced fracture on the left side of his face that will not require surgery. His left shoulder was not structurally damaged.

The Mets plan to wait a few days to determine whether Beltran will join Cameron on the disabled list. The Mets are evaluating trade possibilities but do not expect that to be fruitful.

-- OF Victor Diaz, who was called up to take Cameron's place, wishes it was under different circumstances. "Cam and I get along real good. It was hard to see that happen to him," Diaz said. "He's been good to me." Diaz said he planned to call Cameron to wish him well. "I wouldn't want to be in a collision like that," he said. "I feel terrible for him."

-- 3B David Wright replaced Mike Piazza as the fifth hitter in the Mets' lineup on July 19. The idea was to give Cliff Floyd more protection.

Opposing managers have intentionally walked Floyd four times since. It's proving to be a foolish strategy.

Floyd was walked in the fourth inning on Wednesday night and Wright followed with a three-run homer. The 22-year-old third baseman finished 4 for 5 with six RBI as the Mets crushed the San Diego Padres 9-1.

Wright is 3-for-4 with two extra-base hits and seven RBI after Floyd has been intentionally walked.

"It's like a challenge. I enjoy it. It makes you elevate your game," Wright said. "If they feel they can pitch around somebody to get to you, it makes you mad."

"David took on the challenge," Randolph said. "He responded in a big way. He competes."

-- LHP Tom Glavine (8-10) allowed only two runs over seven innings without a walk on Thursday. He also matched his career high with three hits. But it was another hard-luck loss. "You don't think of things like that when your teammates get injured," he said. "That puts baseball in perspective."

-- OF Cliff Floyd was hit a pitch in the left knee by San Diego's Akinori Otsuka in the eighth inning Thursday. X-rays were negative. Floyd thought the placement of the pitch was intentional. Otsuka insisted it was not.

-- SS Jose Reyes was out of the starting lineup Thursday for the first time since May 4 as manager Willie Randolph wanted to give him a rest. He played the final two innings when the Mets were forced to shuffle their lineup following the collision.

-- RHP Steve Trachsel made his fifth -- and likely last -- minor-league rehab start Friday night. He allowed two runs on five in seven innings of a Triple-A game against Louisville. Trachsel walked one, struck out six and threw 99 pitches. He also went 1-for-2 at the plate and had a sacrifice.

-- RHP Shingo Takatsu was signed to a minor-league deal and assigned to Norfolk. The White Sox released him on Aug. 1 after Takatsu went 1-2 with a 5.97 ERA.

-- RHP Kris Benson faced only 22 batters through seven innings Wednesday, one over the minimum. Benson lost his shutout in the ninth, allowing two hits before Danny Graves came in and gave up an RBI single by Mark Sweeney. Benson walked one and struck out six in 8 1/3 innings. "That's the best I've felt this year and I've been waiting for it all season long," Benson said. "I've been thinking to myself that I hadn't thrown my best game. Hopefully I'll have some better ones."

-- IF Jose Offerman was getting a chance to start at first base. "You never know if a guy will get hot for you unless you look at him for a period of days," manager Willie Randolph said. "I want to see if can do something I can ride for a few days."

BY THE NUMBERS: 20 1/3 -- Consecutive shutout innings by RHP Jae Weong Seo. That streak was snapped by the Dodgers on Saturday.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I really commend my team and I'm proud of my team how they handled the situation, playing the game and bouncing back. The guys on this team deserve a lot of credit for getting through the last couple of days and staying focused. It's not an easy thing." -- Manager Willie Randolph on the aftermath of the collision between outfielders Mike Cameron and Carlos Beltran.

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