Wagner's Return Highlights Mets' Showdown

Mets lefty closer Billy Wagner doesn't think he'll get a warm reception Tuesday night when he returns to Philadelphia - by either the fans or his former teammates. The Mets and Phillies open a key three-game series Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park.

The fans, he figures, will be irked because he bolted the Phillies for a four-year, $43 million deal with the Mets. His former teammates, he believes, are angry with his candor with the Philly media. "My teammates thought I was a big rat," said Billy Wagner. In fact, Wagner said that Pat Burrell called him a rat to his face in the clubhouse after Wagner offered an especially damning assessment of the Phillies during the 2005 season.

"They thought I told the press everything, which I did. I told you everything right out in the middle of everybody. I'm sure a lot of guys on the team aren't excited about seeing me."

Wagner said he never pointed out any particular player, but that didn't cut it in the Philly clubhouse.

"When I talked about our team, I said, 'We, us, our.' I didn't say a name," Wagner said. "I didn't point fingers... I wasn't well-liked as a teammate, that's for sure. I was never the first guy they called to get lunch."

Comparing Billy Wagner and Tom Gordon - 2006

PLAYER W L ERA SV BS G IP H R ER HR BB KO OPP AVG
Tom Gordon 1 1 0.61 10 0 15 14.2 4 1 1 0 5 23 .085
Billy Wagner 2 0 2.12 7 3 15 17.0 12 7 4 3 8 19 .190

NOTES FROM THE BIG APPLE

  • RHP Aaron Heilman is likely to remain in the bullpen and not move to the rotation despite the fact that RHPs Brian Bannister and Victor Zambrano are on the disabled list.
  • GM Omar Minaya said the Mets are thinking of jumping into the trade market to fill the void in their rotation. Washington's Livan Hernandez is one potential target.
  • RHP Jose Lima, Sunday's starter in place of RHP John Maine, is expected to get another start Friday in Milwaukee.
  • THE NUMBERS GAME: 3 - Blown saves already this season by Mets LHP Billy Wagner. He had three blown saves all of last season.

    HE SAID WHAT? "Please, somebody get me some hits." - Slumping LF Cliff Floyd yelled out of the blue in the Mets' clubhouse. Floyd homered in the 11th inning Friday night to re-tie their game against Atlanta, eventually won, 8-7, in 14 innings.

    NY MEDICAL UPDATE:

  • RHP Juan Padilla is lost for the year with elbow surgery.
  • RHP Victor Zambrano went on the 60-day disabled list Sunday (May 7) with a torn flexor tendon in his right elbow. He will require surgery, and he's out for the season.
  • 2B Anderson Hernandez went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 18 due to a bulging disk in his back.
  • RHP Brian Bannister went on the 15-day disabled list April 27 with a strained right hamstring. He could be back in mid-May.
  • RHP John Maine went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Wednesday (May 3) with inflammation in his right middle finger.
  • Meanwhile, in Philly...

    The Phillies offense has been on fire ever since second baseman Chase Utley was moved into the number two hole and center fielder Aaron Rowand was dropped into the number six slot.

    During their eight-game winning streak, the Phils have averaged 6.5 runs per game, and Utley was named the NL Player of the Week after hitting .483 with three homers, eight RBI and nine runs in the last seven games. One of the players also under consideration for the honor was Rowand, who hit .333 with three homers and nine RBIs last week.

    Utley batted .239 while hitting in the number four and five spots to start the season. Although it would seem that batting a guy who drove in 105 runs last season in the two-hole would hurt his RBI totals, so far Utley has managed to remain an RBI threat, plus he's getting plenty of pitches to hit while hitting in front of Bobby Abreu.

    "(RBI situations) were one of my concerns when I put him there," manager Charlie Manuel said. "But I guess if he hits home runs he's going to get RBIs, right?"

    PHILLIES' NOTES and QUOTES

  • RHP Gavin Floyd (3-2, 6.16) has gotten plenty of support from his offense this season, as the Phillies are averaging 6.5 runs over his last five starts.
  • RHP Brett Myers (2-1, 3.11) has gotten a meager 17 runs in his six starts this season, with the five scored in his win over the Braves the last time out representing the largest amount of support he has received. Things probably aren't going to get better for Myers on Tuesday when starts opposite Mets RHP Pedro Martinez.
  • 3B David Bell struck out just once through the first 21 games of the season, but he has stuck out eight times in the last 10 games. Despite the strikeouts, Bell is batting .333 in his last four games.
  • RHP Tom Gordon is holding opposing hitters to a .085 average (4-for-47) this season. Left-handed hitters are 0 for 17 with 10 strikeouts.
  • RHP Ryan Madson has walked 16 batters in 30 1/3 innings as a starter this season. Last year in the bullpen, Madson walked just 25 batters in 87 innings.
  • THE NUMBERS GAME: 179 - Number of walks RF Bobby Abreu was on pace for this season (32 BB in 29 games). The team record for walks in a season is 129 by Lenny Dykstra in 1993.

    HE SAID WHAT? "Without a doubt you hear it. It's impressive watching Ryan. The sound is so much different." - LHP Aaron Fultz, on the sound the ball makes off 1B Ryan Howard's bat after his two-homer performance Friday.

    MEDICAL UPDATE:

  • LHP Randy Wolf ("Tommy John" surgery) began the season on the disabled list. He hopes to begin a minor league rehab assignment in June.
  • RHP Chris Booker (knee) is on an injury-rehab assignment with Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes-Barre. He is a Rule 5 guy who would have to remain on the roster once he gets healthy.
  • RHP Julio Santana (gastroenteritis) was activated from the 15-day disabled list Saturday (May 6).
  • C Mike Lieberthal went on the disabled list retroactive to Friday (May 5) with a bruised left knee.
  • PROBABLE STARTERS:
    Tuesday: Brett Myers (2-1, 3.11) vs. Pedro Martinez (5-0, 2.72)
    Martinez has allowed one or two runs in four of his last five starts and struck out 25. He's allowed nine hits and four walks in his last 20 innings. Myers has a 6-5 record and a 5.57 ERA in his career against the Mets.

    Wednesday: Cory Lidle (3-3, 4.17) vs. Tom Glavine (4-2, 1.94)

    Thursday: Gavin Floyd (3-2, 6.16) vs. Steve Trachsel (2-2, 4.96)


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