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Mets, MLB agree team will wear first-responder caps only before game to honor 9/11

Then-Mets pitcher Steve Trachsel wears a cap from

Then-Mets pitcher Steve Trachsel wears a cap from the Fire Department of New York as he pitches in the first inning of a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Shea Stadium. Credit: AP, 2006

There will be no replay of last year's cap fight between the Mets and Major League Baseball.

To mark Tuesday's 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the Mets will continue their long-standing tradition of wearing first responder caps, though only during batting practice and the national anthem. The Mets will don their regular uniform caps for their game against the Washington Nationals.

The compromise comes a year after MLB, citing its uniform guidelines, shut down the team's plans to wear first responder caps to mark the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

"We're just trying to keep it consistent," MLB executive vice president Joe Torre told The Associated Press last September in the aftermath of the dispute. "Certainly it's not a lack of respect. It's just something we feel is the right thing to do."

The decision triggered a controversy and angered Mets players, who briefly discussed wearing the caps despite the leaguewide mandate. They eventually relented.

This year, the Mets asked to wear the first responder caps only before the game, a request granted by MLB.

"We want to thank Major League Baseball, commissioner Selig and Joe Torre for their support of honoring these agencies for their heroic actions that day," Mets COO Jeff Wilpon said in a statement released by the club Thursday.

In their first game after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, the Mets defied Major League Baseball rules by wearing NYPD and FDNY caps during play.

In later years, other teams followed with similar tributes. After the first inning of a game in 2007, the Nationals wore Virginia Tech caps in honor of the victims killed in the on-campus shooting spree, though they first sought approval from the league.

The Mets already have started commemorating the upcoming anniversary of 9/11.

Mike Baxter, Dillon Gee and Bobby Parnell spent Thursday's off day visiting the Sept. 11 memorial and a firehouse near the World Trade Center site. The players also worked alongside volunteers at the USS Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum as part of the 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance program.

The Mets also announced that the family of fallen FDNY fireman Ronnie Gies will throw out the ceremonial first pitch on Tuesday at Citi Field. Gies lost his life on 9/11.

Byrdak has surgery

Lefthanded reliever Tim Byrdak had successful shoulder surgery Wednesday, the club announced Thursday.

"We are confident that Tim will experience a full recovery and be able to continue his major-league career," general manager Sandy Alderson said in a statement.

Byrdak, 38, tore the anterior capsule in his left shoulder. Byrdak, whose one-year, $1-million contract expires at season's end, intends to attempt a comeback.

Byrdak finished the season 2-2 with a 4.40 ERA in 56 appearances.

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