Jeff Francoeur and Jason Bay Tuesday tried to put a positive spin on last week's clubhouse visit by Darryl Strawberry, which according to the Daily News angered some Mets and reportedly led to their seeking a ban of the former slugger and now SNY analyst.
A Mets official denied any such request to ban Strawberry had been made, and Francoeur, although he acknowledged the conversation with Strawberry, denied he had any issues with him.
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"Absolutely not," Francoeur said. "Maybe if it was some Joe Blow saying it, but Straw has done a lot for this organization, and I think he was just trying to remind us that we're a better team than [how] we were playing."
Bay echoed those sentiments. "He had a few things to say, he said it to a few people, and we've been playing well ever since. I was one of those guys he talked to. He did it in a professional way and kind of thought it was over then.
"He didn't come in to -- anyone off or any of that. He came in to start motivating guys. Sometimes when the guys in here aren't doing it, you get someone like that and maybe it works."
Maine's mixed feelings
Although John Maine was relieved Monday that an MRI revealed nothing more serious than tendinitis of the right rotator cuff, he also was still miffed at the Mets for putting him on the disabled list three days earlier.
"The doctor told me I could pitch with it," Maine said, "and I knew I could pitch with it. I just wished they asked me."
The Mets preferred not to wait until Monday's more definitive round of tests. Maine scored a minor victory in getting to stay in New York for his rehab - rather than being shipped to Port St. Lucie - and he expected to return to the rotation in two weeks.
The Mets probably will delay him longer, but they won't know a timetable until the inflammation subsides.
Raul Valdes, who pitched three shutout innings last night, appeared to be the front-runner to start Saturday in Milwaukee, but Jerry Manuel is unsure if he wants to move Valdes out of the long-relief role vacated by Hisanori Takahashi . . . Luis Castillo (1-for-4) returned to the starting lineup after being scratched late twice against the Yankees. Castillo has been experimenting with different foot pads and found one that worked.