Mets' McEwing Probably Lost for Season

Friday, August 20th 2004, 8:20 pm
By: News On 6

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ New York Mets infielder Joe McEwing is likely done for the season after breaking a bone in his left leg.

McEwing was placed on the disabled list Friday, a day after getting hurt in the second game of a doubleheader at Colorado. The latest on a long list of injured Mets, McEwing has a broken fibula and been told he'll be sidelined six to eight weeks. But he said he hasn't ruled out a return this year.

New York brought up infielder Jeff Keppinger from Triple-A Norfolk to fill McEwing's roster spot. He was available for Friday night when the Mets opened a three-game series against the San Francisco Giants.

``It stinks, it absolutely stinks,'' said McEwing, who wore a walking boot and fought back tears. ``It's very disappointing. You get an opportunity to go out there and play. I was feeling good, feeling great at the plate and good defensively.''

Rockies runners slid into McEwing twice _ first in the fourth inning when Matt Holliday tried to break up a potential inning-ending double play, then again in the sixth when J.D. Closser took him out.

Shortstop Wilson Delgado made a nice play in the hole on Jorge Piedro's chopper, but his throw was low and McEwing couldn't get out of the way in time. The Mets didn't like Closser's slide, saying it was late and away from the bag, and reliever Braden Looper hit the rookie on the back of the leg in his next at-bat in the eighth inning.

Looper was ejected.

Mets manager Art Howe charged out of the dugout to argue with plate umpire Lance Barksdale after Looper was tossed and didn't back down once the game was over. Howe reiterated Friday that he felt what Looper did was acceptable.

``I know he made points with his teammates, and his manager,'' Howe said. ``Let's put it this way, things that sometimes take place on the field, whether intentional or not, some things have to take place afterward. It was handled.''

When asked if he thinks Looper will be suspended, Howe said: ``I think it's a joke if he is. Certainly he didn't try to throw at his head or try to hit anybody. To a degree you lose respect from the other side if you don't take care of business.''

McEwing had an X-ray Thursday night, then an MRI exam Friday. Results weren't immediately available.

At first, he didn't think he'd broken the leg, figuring it was just stiff or that he had a knot in there.

McEwing hasn't seen the play and doesn't plan to, but he doubts it was clean.

``I'm a big believer in playing hard and to go get them to break up a double play,'' McEwing said. ``He got me right below the knee, and I pretty much stopped him midair.''

He appreciated the support from Looper.

``That's what means the most, coming from your teammates,'' McEwing said. ``I was in the car going to the hospital and I heard it (Looper's ejection). You go to war with these guys every day. I don't want to say he did it on purpose, but it was much appreciated.''

McEwing was hitting .254 with one homer and 16 RBIs in 75 games this season.