JUPITER, Fla. -- A diagnosis of tendinitis, while often unpopular in Major League clubhouses, was mostly embraced Saturday afternoon when the Mets learned the pain in the surgically repaired left wrist of Mike Cameron was caused by nothing more and nothing worse.

According to Cameron, doctors found a "bubble of inflammation" on the outside of his left wrist. Cameron will head straight to Cincinnati where he hopes to play in Monday's season opener.

"[The doctors] gave me some medicine and told me to do nothing for 48 hours," Cameron said. "I think I have a shot to play Monday."

The Mets received word of the diagnosis as they were preparing to leave Roger Dean Stadium, the site of their final Florida exhibition game. They were as pleased as Manny Aybar had been moments earlier when he learned belatedly that he would be on the Opening Day roster. Assistant general manager John Ricco called the diagnosis "good news."

The Mets had wondered about Cameron's readiness for the first week of the season when he reported to camp Friday and said he had experienced "abnormal" pain when he awoke. Preliminary examination on Friday suggested scar tissue was a possibility. Cameron was sweating something worse. "When you're not sure, it's like it gets worse," he said.

Cameron was examined via MRI in Manhattan on Saturday by Dr. Andrew Weiland, the surgeon who repaired Cameron's damaged cartilage on Dec. 17. Weiland said Cameron's pain was unrelated to the surgery.

So it was a pretty good day for this team, in contrast to Friday when Cameron's problem surfaced and the club was unsure of Kris Benson.

But Benson long-tossed in the outfield Saturday and experienced no pain from the pectoral strain he had suffered Monday. He and pitching coach Rick Peterson were confident the revised starting rotation created Friday would hold: Pedro Martinez on Monday, Tom Glavine on Wednesday and Kaz Ishii on Thursday in Cincinnati, followed by Victor Zambrano on Friday and Benson going Saturday in Atlanta.

Then the Mets amassed 17 hits in their 12-4 victory against the Marlins. Felix Heredia and Dae-Sung Koo pitched one inning each. Minor leaguers did the heavy lifting.

And and one of the Mets' hits was a double by Kaz Matsui, his first extra-base hit of Spring Training. He left Florida with 15 hits (two Saturday) and 14 strikeouts (none Saturday).

Call it progress.

Three added, one removed: Aybar, fellow reliever Roberto Hernandez and understudy catcher Ramon Castro were added to the 40-man roster. Alay Soler, the Cuban pitcher who was beset with visa problems, was removed from the roster and placed on the restricted list.

Marlon Anderson, who will be on the 25-man Major League roster on Monday, has yet to be added to the 40-man roster.

Bartolome Fortunato, who injured his back Friday night, is to be examined in New York on Sunday. He will be assigned to the disabled list or optioned to the minor leagues.

• Mets broadcaster Ed Coleman: 
• Kevin Czerwinski on the Kaz Ishii trade 
• Interview with Darryl Strawberry:  350K

Strickland staying: The Mets have some reserve bullpen strength at the Triple-A level before summer. Scott Strickland, who had the option of leaving the club, decided to accept an assignment to Norfolk on Friday. General manager Omar Minaya said that if Strickland regains the velocity he had on his slider before his 2003 reconstructive elbow surgery, the slider would be as "nasty" as any in the Mets' bullpen.

One eye on Yanks-Sox: When the Mets finally arrive in Cincinnati on Sunday, following their stopover in Washington, D.C., they may be able to catch some of the first innings of the 2005 season on television. At long last, real baseball. A game and at-bats that count. And a pretty good game, too: Yankees-Red Sox.

Some are interested, among them a former Red Sox pitcher.

"I always watch the game that's on," Martinez said, "no matter who is playing. So I will watch that one. It's either the Yankees-Red Sox or The Discovery Channel. I love that channel. I love cheetahs."

Pitino a Pedro fan: Five years removed from his tenure as Celtics coach, Louisville coach Rick Pitino invoked the name of another high-profile Boston sports figure Friday at a Final Four new conference in St. Louis.

With his team preparing to confront No. 1 Illinois, Pitino said his team needed a "Pedro Martinez-like performance."

An admittedly poor basketball player and, evidentally, not a big a basketball fan, Martinez was initially unfamiliar with Pitino's name. Braden Looper filled him in.

"Oh, that's nice," Martinez said recalling more on his own. "Didn't he get run out of town by the Boston media?" And finally, Martinez said, "Thank you for the compliment, Mr. Pitino."

Coming up: The Mets, the first visiting team to play exhibiiton games in Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Amiquest Field in Arlington and PNC Park in Pittsburgh, will become the first visiting team to the play the Nationals in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, weather permitting.

Their final Spring Training game, with Victor Zambrano pitching opposite Tomo Okha, is scheduled for Sunday afternoon. Rain is expected for the 12:05 p.m. ET game.