Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said Friday that he met with David Einhorn about two months ago and came away impressed with the team's prospective minority investor.

"Enthusiastic," Alderson said of the 42-year-old hedge- fund manager. "Knowledgeable. Obviously very interested."

Apparently, the feeling was more than mutual. Einhorn, whose status as "preferred partner" was announced Thursday, gushed about Alderson during a post-announcement conference call.

"What we have right now is fantastic leadership," Einhorn said. "I've had a chance to meet Sandy Alderson. He strikes me as a first-rate executive. If he wasn't running a baseball team, I can think of a lot of other companies I'd rather have him manage as well. I think he's fantastic. I think as long as we stay under his leadership and direction, I think the Mets are going to point to a very good direction."

Alderson, who addressed the media in the Mets' dugout before Friday's game against the Phillies, said: "I appreciated that vote of confidence from a potential minority partner. I'm not sure exactly how to respond to that."

Asked his opinion of what the infusion of Einhorn's $200 million (assuming the deal goes through as planned and is approved by Major League Baseball) would mean to the team he is assembling, Alderson was noncommittal.

"I think we should wait and see," he said. "It's not a completed transaction at this point. Let's see what it means to the baseball side. I think right now what we've done over the last couple of months is try to stay focused on the field and the immediate job at hand."

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Alderson was asked if Thursday's news could have a positive effect on the players.

"It's possible," he said. "Anything positive is a plus."