MRI results 'clean,' Alou ready to return to Mets

NEW YORK -- For oft-injured New York Mets left fielder Moises Alou, this was a medical report he didn't mind hearing.

Alou, on the 15-day disabled list since March 23 following hernia surgery, rolled his left ankle last week, but an MRI exam on Monday showed nothing but "a little swelling" and the results came back "clean."

"I had a little setback with my ankle, but it didn't set me back because I'm here," Alou said Tuesday.

Alou certainly looked ready. He was in his Mets workout clothes and at his locker in the New York clubhouse for the first time this season.

Alou, on the DL for the 16th time in his 19-year career -- he missed two full seasons to injuries -- has been participating in the Mets' extended spring training in Florida, including a game for Class A St. Lucie. He said he batted third every inning and insists that he'll be ready to play every day even if his stamina isn't quite there yet.

"I played seven innings. It plays great and I was expecting to play today. It's good now and I'm ready to go," Alou said. "I could get activated today. ... For me, Opening Day is Friday," the 41-year-old said.

Mets general manager Omar Minaya, however, said Alou is day-to-day.

"We're probably not going to activate him tomorrow," Minaya said before the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. "We'll look at him Thursday and then by Friday we are going to look at him much closer."

The Mets will have to make a move to activate Alou, and one possibility is to place catcher Brian Schneider on the disabled list.

Schneider remained hospitalized with an infection in his left thumb, but Minaya said the catcher could be released as early as tomorrow.

Minaya said Schneider, out since Thursday, had a type of infection that was "caused by normal skin bacteria -- staph is one of them." But he emphasized that he "doesn't have the serious [type of staph infection]."

Schneider had his finger drained, but he did not need stitches. When he'll be able to play again is unknown.

"He'll be day-to-day," Minaya said. "At the end of the day, it's a thumb, it's the catching thumb, and it's a sensitive area."