Lo Duca placed on 15-day DL; Castro day-do-day with back

NEW YORK -- The New York Mets can't seem to catch a break
with injuries, especially to their catchers.

On the same day the Mets placed Paul Lo Duca on the 15-day
disabled list because of a strained right hamstring, backup catcher
Ramon Castro left Sunday's game against the Florida Marlins in the
third inning because of back discomfort.

An MRI exam showed mild arthritis in Castro's lower back,
general manager Omar Minaya said. Castro is considered day-to-day.

Mike DiFelice, called up from Triple-A New Orleans, took
Castro's place. He is the only other catcher on the roster.

Castro appeared to hurt himself in the top of the third on a
play at the plate. Shawn Green's throw beat Cody Ross, but Castro
lost the ball on the tag and Ross was safe.

It was lucky DiFelice was ready to go. The catcher arrived at
the stadium at 1:30 p.m., and still needed to get dressed, sign a
contract and take some swings. He said he made it to the dugout
around the top of the third.

An inning later, he was in the game.

Minaya refused to speculate too much about what the team would
do if Castro's situation deteriorated and he had to go on the
disabled list. If Castro is day-to-day, Minaya said the team would
stick with DiFelice.

"Maybe Castro could catch in an emergency," Minaya said.

Because the team has a day off Monday, the Mets have about 48
hours to decide whether a move needs to be made.

Lo Duca hurt his hamstring earlier this month and missed six
games. He aggravated the injury Saturday night after hitting a
grounder to Marlins pitcher Scott Olsen in the fourth inning. Olsen
ran toward Lo Duca to tag him out, and the veteran catcher stopped
short and pulled up with a limp.

Lo Duca stayed in the game and grounded into a forceout in the
sixth. He was replaced during a pitching change in the top of the
seventh by Castro.

The move was announced Saturday night, and Lo Duca didn't speak
to the media. Minaya said that night that Lo Duca wasn't thrilled
with the decision. On Sunday, Lo Duca was in the clubhouse dressed
in jeans and a T-shirt. He will have an MRI exam Monday.

"It's frustrating because I want to play," Lo Duca said. "I
probably could play through it, but they don't want me to re-injure
it, and that's that."

Lo Duca said when he woke up Sunday morning his hamstring felt
"absolutely great."

When asked if he wished the team had waited before making the
decision, a sullen Lo Duca abruptly ended the interview.

"Come on, don't start nothing," he said.

Manager Willie Randolph said it was the right choice not to wait
and see how Lo Duca felt.

"We did that just recently, and it didn't work out. It
obviously didn't heal," Randolph said. "Anytime you re-injure
your hamstring, it's the right thing. Put him on the DL and give
him some time."

The 38-year-old DiFelice has played 528 games in his career over
12 seasons, for seven different teams. He came into Sunday's game a
career .235 hitter, and went 1-for-3 with two strikeouts. He also
made a terrific throw to pick Cody Ross off third base in the fifth
inning of the Mets' 10-4 win.

"Last year I told David [Wright] I like to throw down there if
the guy is leading too far off," DiFelice said. "I looked at Dave
and he was right on it, gave me a sign."