HOUSTON - Sorry, Mets fans. Manny Ramirez won’t be batting cleanup, Danys Baez won’t be warming up in the bullpen and you won’t be seeing Alfonso Soriano or Julio Lugo taking over at second base when the team returns to Shea Stadium on Tuesday.
For all the talk about New York making a blockbuster deal at the trade deadline, the team ended up staying pat Sunday, with general manager Omar Minaya saying the team he spent a lot of money putting together last winter should still be good enough to make a run at the playoffs.
“The important thing is to get better with the guys we have,” Minaya said. “I think that we are equipped to do that. Things can change pretty fast and we haven’t had too many good weeks yet.”
Minaya did look into things. He just didn’t find anything he liked, at least not yet. Players can still be dealt after the deadline, providing they clear waivers first.
“We worked hard at trying to work out a deal,” he said. “You can’t force deals. We’ll continue to work after the trading deadline.”
After the deadline passed, the Mets rallied to beat the Houston Astros 9-4. They way they did it was impressive, too, getting a season-best 17 hits and scoring more runs the last two innings (five) than they had the three previous games against the Astros (four).
New York salvaged a 2-5 road trip and moved back to one game over .500. While the Mets are last in the NL East, eight games behind Atlanta, they’re just four behind the Astros in the wild-card race.
“I’m ready to go into the rest of the season with the guys I have,” manager Willie Randolph said. “I’m not thinking about what we don’t have.”
Devil Rays general manager Chuck LaMar said he spoke with the Mets about Baez and Lugo. He also said he came up with a three-way deal involving Tampa Bay, Boston and New York that would’ve gotten Ramirez to the Mets. He said a proposal was “about as close as it got,” adding that the Mets made prospect Lastings Milledge “untouchable throughout this trade deadline.”
If any of the Mets were distracted by the chance of being dealt, it was outfielder Mike Cameron, who couldn’t turn on a TV or radio without hearing his name linked to the proposed deal for Ramirez.
He went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts Saturday after admitting it got to him, then went 3-for-5 Sunday, with two of the hits coming after the deadline. He scored the go-ahead run after leading off the seventh inning with a double off the wall in left-center field.
One locker over, close friend Cliff Floyd said he was ecstatic to have Cameron remain his teammate.
“When you lean on someone as much as I lean on him, it would be devastating to me and a lot of others guys in here,” he said. “We know how this game is. We can’t get involved with what the guys in the suits do. We can’t get sidetracked. All we need to do is think about what is going on the field.”
Carlos Beltran, who along with Pedro Martinez were New York’s big-ticket acquisitions in free agency, said “extra help is always good, but what we got is what we need to focus on.”
Beltran was traded to the Astros on June 24 last season, then helped them during an incredible final six weeks into the postseason. He thinks the Mets have what it takes to make the same kind of run.
“I think we can do it,” he said. “We have talent, guys who can steal bases, guys who can pitch. All year, we’ve been one day good, one day not so good. Three games over .500, then back to .500. We just need to continue to take advantage of our opportunities.”
ATLANTA (AP) - Matt Harvey pitched six hitless innings, John Buck homered and the New York Mets held off another Atlanta comeback, beating the Braves 4-3 Tuesday in the first game of a doubleheader.
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