Originally created 07/05/99

Mets place Bonilla on DL



NEW YORK -- The New York Mets can't even put Bobby Bonilla on the disabled list without a little bit of controversy.

Bonilla was placed on the 15-day DL before Sunday night's game against Atlanta with tendinitis in his left knee.

The move was retroactive to Saturday. The Mets recalled right-hander Jason Isringhausen from Triple-A Norfolk to take his place.

There was little agreement between Bonilla and Mets management, however, about who made the decision to sit the outfielder for two weeks and whether he would agree to a minor league rehabilitation assignment when he was healthy.

Mets manager Bobby Valentine, who rarely talks to Bonilla, said he heard that Bonilla requested to be put on the DL. That seemed to amuse Bonilla.

"He's hearing things again," Bonilla said. "I didn't suggest anything."

General manager Steve Phillips, who talked to Bonilla about his knee Saturday, said he made the decision with consultation from Valentine.

"Bobby Bo told me what he was feeling and left it up to me to make a decision about the DL," Phillips said. "He said he wanted to get the knee better.

"I sat down with Bobby V. and decided on the timing of the move."

The other conflict regarding the Bonilla situation was whether or not he would accept a rehab assignment. He refused to go on one when he came off the DL in May.

"Did I do it the first time?" Bonilla asked. "I'll just leave it at that."

Phillips said Bonilla told him he wanted to get some at-bats at Triple-A before returning to the Mets.

"He said his preference would be not to travel around with the team," Phillips said. "He wants to get some at-bats at Norfolk to get his timing back."

Bonilla's return to New York has been a tumultuous one. He injured his right knee during spring training and was limited by a heavy brace. He had difficulty running in the outfield and generating power with his swing, drawing boos from the New York fans every time he stepped on the field.

The brace affected his left knee and he was put on the DL in May after being hit by a pitch there. He is hitting .159 in 104 at-bats and the Mets have been trying to unload his $6 million salary.

They have offered to pay most of his salary to any team willing to take him in a trade and placed him on unconditional waivers last month. But no team has shown interest in an injured 36-year-old outfielder who can't hit, field or run.

Bonilla feuded with Valentine last month after the waiver report was made public. Bonilla has been relegated to pinch-hitting duty since, a task made more difficult by his knee.

"It is extremely difficult to get going if I can't get loose," said Bonilla, who had a cortisone injection in his knee about two weeks ago. "It is hard to go in and play without being able to get the knee loose."

Isringhausen was 1-2 with a 7.30 ERA in five starts for the Mets before being sent back down to the minors June 23 to pitch out of the bullpen. In four relief appearances with Norfolk, Isringhausen allowed one hit and five walks in 4 2-3 scoreless innings. He struck out five.

Isringhausen is attempting to come back from reconstructive surgery on his right shoulder and elbow and both he and the Mets think a bullpen role will put less strain on his arm.