Oft-injured outfielder has quad strain

NEW YORK -- The New York Mets were missing four regulars
from their lineup in their home opener Monday against the Atlanta Braves.

Left fielder Cliff Floyd was placed on the 15-day disabled list
with a strained right quadriceps. He was hurt while legging out an
infield single Sunday against the Montreal Expos in Puerto Rico.

Mike Piazza was out of the lineup because of a sore right elbow
after a collision with Peter Bergeron at first base Sunday. The
Mets were already without second baseman Jose Reyes, on the DL with
a strained right hamstring, and right fielder Karim Garcia, day to
day with a broken left ring finger.

That left Ricky Gutierrez, Shane Spencer and Todd Zeile as the
2-3-4 hitters in New York's depleted lineup.

"Yeah, I'm disappointed. But you've got to look at this season
as a whole," Piazza said.

Floyd had an MRI on Monday, but it was still unclear how long
he'll be out. The injury is especially upsetting for New York's No.
3 hitter, who is coming off Achilles' tendon surgery and was
finally hoping for a healthy season.

"He felt much better after he had ice on it yesterday,"
manager Art Howe said. "Maybe we'll catch a break."

Piazza got treatment Monday morning and wore a black sleeve on
his elbow in the clubhouse. He hopes to play in New York's next
game Wednesday.

"The plan is to give it today and tomorrow and see how it is
Wednesday. It shouldn't be much more than a day or two," he said.
"I'm fine. I just feel like I've been kicked around a bit."

The Mets planned to move Piazza from catcher to first base
occasionally this season to try to cut down on the bumps and
bruises he inevitably gets behind the plate. That way they could
keep his big bat in the lineup more often.

"It shows that it's a position you can't take for granted,
especially when runners are coming down the line," Piazza said.

To replace Floyd on the roster, the Mets recalled outfielder
Jeff Duncan from Triple-A Norfolk, and he was available off the
bench against the Braves. Duncan hit .194 with one homer and 10
RBIs in 56 games for the Mets last season.

Garcia, injured while fielding a ball Saturday, hopes to be back
in the lineup Wednesday.

The Braves were missing three injured regulars themselves: left
fielder Chipper Jones (strained right hamstring), shortstop Rafael
Furcal (strained lower back) and first baseman Adam LaRoche (sore

"I don't remember this ever happening. Now you've got two teams
playing here with their stars out -- and on opening day! It's
amazing," Atlanta manager Bobby Cox said.

Cox said Jones, Furcal and LaRoche could return to the lineup