ST. LOUIS (AP) – Mike Piazza said he would wait until Sunday to see if he could play after being beaned by Julian Tavarez in the catcher’s return to the New York Mets in Saturday night’s game against the St. Louis Cardinals.

In his first game since breaking a bone in his left hand Aug. 16, Piazza homered in his first at-bat, in the second inning against Jeff Suppan. Piazza singled in the fourth and flied out in the sixth.

Tavarez entered the game in the seventh, and his first pitch of the eighth hit Piazza on the front of his batting helmet.

Piazza fell to the ground, was laid out flat for several seconds, then sat up before walking off the field.

“I’ll wait to see how I feel tomorrow,” Piazza said after the game. “I feel OK right now. It’ll be up to Willie (Randolph) if I play tomorrow.”

Piazza would not say if he thought Tavarez hit him on purpose.

“I don’t know, I don’t want to get into that,” he said.

Tavarez denied there was any intent.

“I just went out there and tried to get a ball inside,” Tavarez said. “It got away from my hand and I hit him. I’ve got nothing against that guy.”

Before the game, Piazza sounded hopeful about his return.

“I don’t know what to expect. It feels good enough to go. Hopefully, at this point in the year I can help out a little bit,” he said.

Randolph said before the game that the decision to play was made by Piazza.

“Hopefully he can give us a little spark,” the Mets manager said. “We could use a little jolt right now. Hopefully, he can give us that.”

At the time of the injury, the 12-time All-Star was hitting .259 with 14 homers and 55 RBIs. He had a .292 average with four homers and 16 RBIs in his previous 18 games with an at-bat.

The Mets went 10-13 while Piazza was sidelined, fading from contention in the wild-card race during the past 10 days.

AP-ES-09-10-05 2332EDT


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