(above : page one of Ray Ramirez’ operations manual)

WIth a 4-1 lead over Florida in the top of the 4th at a very quiet Landshark Stadium, the Mets hope to snap a 5-game losing streak behind a star-studded lineup featuring Wilson Valdez, Anderson Hernandez, Corey Sullivan and Tim Redding. The club’s current medical and financial woes are best summed up by Metstradamus, who suggests “in a cost cutting move, Oliver Perez and Johan Santana will perform their respective surgeries on each other.” As for what brought us to this point, in stark contrast to Maury Brown’s implications the Mets are a bunch of malingerers, Newsday’s David Lennon alleges “while there has always been a clubhouse code – one that outlines the difference between ‘hurt’ and ‘injured’ – the Mets pushed that envelope with a dizzying number of cortisone injections and delayed trips to the disabled list.”

Carlos Delgado was basically a ticking bomb with the torn labrum inside his right hip. As soon as it went for good, he was done. But when that happened, others pushed to stay on their feet to fill that void.

Multiple sources said Jose Reyes had been playing with a slight tear of his right hamstring tendon, not simply tendinitis behind his right knee. So with the reliance on his legs, the Mets were kidding themselves trying to get him back without a prolonged period of rest.

When the tendon ultimately ripped for good June 3, weeks after he was placed on the DL, not even cortisone shots could keep him on his rehab schedule. Now he is likely headed for what the team believes is “minor” surgery to fix the problem when the season is over.

It was a similar scenario with Carlos Beltran, who tried to play through a bone bruise just below his right knee, again with the help of cortisone shots. Two sources said Beltran was unhappy with how the injury was handled, but when asked about agreeing to the shots, Beltran said it was he who accepted the risk.

So did J.J. Putz, who knew a shot was the only way he could try to pitch with a bone spur in his right elbow that the Mariners’ medical staff discovered at the end of last season. Oddly, the Seattle doctor told Putz there was no need for surgery, then he was traded to the Mets roughly two months later.

John Maine, in rehab limbo in Port St. Lucie, had three cortisone shots in the back of the shoulder before the Mets chose simply to rest him.

“While that cortisone was in there, I was great,” Putz said. “But cortisone is nothing but a Band-Aid anyway. It masks the problem. That’s all it really is…if you’re getting cortisone to cover up a torn ligament, or a slightly torn ligament, then yeah, it can get worse, because you don’t feel the stress.”