|Saturday, March 8
Astacio likely will begin season on DL
"I didn't feel it last year,'' he said Saturday. "This happened a couple of weeks ago.''
Astacio, expected to be the Mets' No. 3 starter behind Tom Glavine and Al Leiter, will probably begin the season on the disabled list because of inflammation in his right biceps tendon. He will be shut down for five days before he resumes throwing.
Astacio had an MRI exam Friday in New York, and was back at the Mets' complex Saturday to start treatment. He said he was relieved the problem was not more serious.
"Anytime you have something like this, you're worried,'' he said. "I don't have to worry about it too much now.''
The 33-year-old Astacio told the Mets about his pain after pitching three scoreless innings against St. Louis on Monday.
"I felt it when I pitched, mostly on the follow-through,'' he said. "Something was bothering me.
"Sometimes you feel something in you but it goes away. This didn't go away,'' he said.
Astacio made two starts in spring training, giving up two runs and four hits in five innings.
After seeing Astacio struggle in the second half of last season -- he started 11-4, then went 1-7 with a 10.80 ERA in his final nine starts -- the Mets were concerned that an old shoulder injury had cropped up.
Astacio was among baseball's most coveted pitchers at the trade deadline in 2001. Colorado dealt him to Houston, but Astacio made only four starts for the Astros before he was put on the disabled list for the first time in his career.
At the time, Astacio was diagnosed with a partial tear in his right shoulder. After the season, the Astros declined a $9 million option on him for 2002 and instead paid a $1 million buyout.
The Mets then signed the free agent, giving him a guaranteed $5 million for one year. By reaching 180 innings last year -- he pitched 191 2/3 innings -- Astacio was assured a $7 million salary this season.
Astacio is 115-107 with a 4.53 ERA lifetime in a major league career that started in 1992 with Los Angeles.