Delgado hopes to return this season

Carlos Delgado, who has spent the past eight weeks in Vail, Colo., rehabbing at the Howard Head Sports Medicine center from a second hip surgery, hopes to play in the majors this season. Delgado is still using crutches. He expects to leave Colorado soon to continue his rehab program in New York.

"I want to get healthy," Delgado said as the Mets prepared to take batting practice Tuesday at Coors Field. "Obviously the plan is to end up playing somewhere at some time. But the most important thing is I want to bounce back and recuperate and see what happens. I don't want to start thinking too far down the road until I see how the rehab is going and all that."

Delgado's initial surgery came with the Mets last May 19, and involved repairing a torn labrum and removing a bone spur from his right hip. He suffered an oblique strain while rehabbing and never returned to the Mets last season. Delgado had more difficulty with the hip while playing winter ball in his native Puerto Rico in December, requiring a second surgery. The recent procedure was performed by Dr. Marc Philippon, who also operated on Alex Rodriguez's hip.

"It's the same area, but a different surgery," Delgado said. "They did a reconstruction of my labrum. Hopefully that's going to help. It's completely different. They get a piece of your IT (iliotibial) band (in the thigh) and they make it into a labrum. This is something that only like a couple of guys in the whole world do that. It definitely will help with stability in that joint."

As for how the hip felt while trying to play in the winter league, Delgado said: "I was functional. I could play. But it was a drag. You figure that if you haven't started the season yet and it's a little sore, it's going to be a long season. I wanted to get at least a second opinion and figure out what it was. I was presented the option, so I figured the smarter thing to do was try to get it fixed instead of just dealing with all the symptoms -- try to get to the root of the problem.

"It's not fun. Nobody likes to be hurt. Obviously, nobody likes to go through one surgery let alone two. But nobody likes to be in pain anyway. Nobody likes to be uncomfortable. You want to be functional and try to do what you do for a living all the time, and do the stuff that you do with the kids all the time. At some point that was a little uncomfortable. So I decided to go in for the second one. You know, it's tough to sit and watch. But my health is No. 1. So I just want to make sure I'm OK."

As for his return to baseball, Delgado added: "I've been on crutches for eight weeks. Let's start by walking first, then do a little jogging and see where we are and see where your strength is. The plan is to go and play. Like I said, you've just got to make sure your body allows it."

Delgado acknowledged the Mets had not shown much interest after observing him in winter ball.

"We had some conversations and they sent some people down," he said. "I didn't get an offer. Sometimes it takes two to tango."