Injured quad might keep Easley out for rest of regular season

A day after losing Fernando Tatis for the rest of the regular season, the New York Mets got some more bad news: Veteran infielder Damion Easley is at least a week away from even pinch hitting as he recovers from an injured quadriceps muscle.

Asked Wednesday if he is through for the season, Easley sounded unsure at best.

"I don't know if that's true," Easley told reporters. "I mean, anything is I guess possible. I know it's not going to be a hundred percent. At the same time I've got to get it past a walking stage. I feel it walking, sitting, getting up from sitting. Just the initial moves, just normal functions. Until I can get past that stage, it's useless trying to do anything."

"I want to be healthy right now, but that's not reality," he added.

It's a difficult situation for Easley, who has never been to the playoffs in 17 big league seasons. Nor is it a good situation for the Mets,
who will have to carry on the fight for their playoff lives with rookie Argenis Reyes or veteran
Luis Castillo at second.

Easley had been seeing the bulk of playing time at second base, even though Castillo, who signed a four-year, $25 million deal in the offseason, returned from the disabled list in late August. In 108 games, Easley is batting .272 with six home runs and 44 RBIs.

Mets manager Jerry Manuel said Easley is at least a week away from even being able to serve in a pinch-hitting role.

Easley was hurt Saturday trying to beat a throw on a double-play grounder. He said he felt a "pop" in the leg.

But despite Easley's hopes of finally reaching the postseason, he's not going to rush his recovery.

"You've got to be careful," he said, "because if I go out and lie and say I feel good and I wrap it up and the first day I do it I take two steps out of the box I pull it. Then I make [Manuel] look bad. I make myself look bad. The team that was counting on me can't count on me."