Mets P Orlando Hernandez is returning to New York today with a sore neck, and the Journal News’ Jon Delcos is ready to crank up the doom and gloom.

Omar Minaya said Orlando Hernandez complained of similar pain last year, but it didn™t force him from the rotation. Hernandez said this resurfaced a couple of days ago after throwing BP.

Minaya chose to get the exam out of the way now rather than shut him down for a couple of days and then do an exam. If the Mets have to close him down for any length of time, it is better to know it now.

Minaya said he™s not concerned, but I™m not buying. There are already enough questions in the Mets™ rotation. We knew health would be an issue. Just not this early.

I did, however, receive an urgent text message from Jose Lima, wishing to reassure everyone that his neck feels just fine.

Curt Schilling told his good pals at WEEI this morning that he’d likely explore free agency next winter, given Boston’s hesitancy to offer him a contract extension this spring. There’s little I can add to this subject other than what Josh Alper has already written — suffice to say, if the Red Sox were eager to overpay (again) for a starter with burgeoning physical issues, Pedro and the Sultan Of Sloth would still call Fenway home.

And by physical issues, blisters don’t count, do they?

Embattled Royals hurler Zach Greinke (above), far too polite to blame Buddy Bell’s flatuence for his psychological problems, tells the K.C. Star’s Bob Dutton that he was desperate to strap on a (batting) helmet.

œI™d talk to my agent all the time and ask him: ˜How can I tell the Royals that I don™t want to pitch? That I want to try hitting?,™  said Greinke, who added he knew there was no chance of that happening, which increased his frustration. œI thought that was why I hated baseball. I thought it was because I wanted to hit.

œIt would be at least once a month that I™d be crying to myself while I™m going to bed with a bat in my hand, just swinging it. It™s stupid. That doesn™t happen anymore.