"I'm feeling better. This was my sixth game this week," said Alou after going one-for-four with an RBI with the Cyclones. "I was a little rusty because I haven't really played in two months, but I'm very pleased with how I saw the ball today. I could have done a little better, but it's all good. I feel good and I'm looking forward to getting back in the lineup."
Looking back on his season, Alou regretted how things have gone thus far. He knows that the only thing he can do is produce offensively when he rejoins the team in order to save this season from going down as one of the most disappointing of his 17-year career. That, and only that, will win him back over with the fans in Flushing, who expected a monster season from the former All-Star.
"I took an extra base on an outfielder yesterday [with the Gulf Coast Mets, with whom Alou also rehabbed with last week] who was being lazy on a ball I hit out to left field," said Alou. "I play hard all the time, but I know my limitations and right now I don't think I have any in my legs. I'm ready to go."
With injuries to Endy Chavez, Carlos Gomez, and the ineffective play of David Newhan and Shawn Green this season, the boys from Flushing could use the 41-year-old's bat in the lineup more than ever. At the time of the injury, Alou was hitting .318 with 13 RBI and was a big reason in the team's solid start. However, Alou admitted that he has not followed the team as ardently as he should have during his injury. Nevertheless, he is focused on helping the team win when he does return.
"To be honest, I haven't been paying too much attention to the team since they've been on the West Coast," said Alou. "It's a little late for me, but I think my presence in the lineup is going to make an impact. My bat is going to help; I know it's going to take me a little while to get my swing back though."
Rather than feel out of place by his long hiatus on the DL, Alou feels that his time in the minors has made him a better ballplayer and has given him a chance to put his potential Hall of Fame career into perspective.
"This place is really nice for a short season Single-A club," said Alou, of Keyspan Park and the surrounding Coney Island area. "I was down with the Gulf Coast team earlier in the week and those kids have it a lot tougher. I'm happy that I did this though, it served as a real reality check; I was reminded of what I went through during my minor league years and the journey I had to get through to get to the Major Leagues."
Now with his rehab assignment completely behind him, Alou knows what is being asked of him. He is ready to prove to both the fans, and the organization, that he was worth every penny of that one-year, $7.5 million dollar contract he signed this past offseason.
"I always have high expectations for myself. As a matter of fact, I really can't go in there with the attitude that I've been out for two months," said Alou. "Even if I'm not ready mentally, I'm ready to go physically and I'm going to act like I never missed a day. I'm going to try and play the same way I was before I got injured."