The reaction of the national media to the Manny Ramirez suspension was predictable: haughty outrage.

So was the reaction of the fans: vehement anger at anyone who dares to criticize baseball's latest "Roid Boy."

Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch will have none of it. He calls Ramirez and Alex Rodriguez "chemically enhanced fakes" and their pathetic fans "loyal sycophants and misguided apologists."

Then there is Jack Clark, who spent 17 years in the majors and now is a studio commentator on Cardinals pregame and postgame shows.

"They always have a story," Clark told Burwell about the players caught cheating. "No one ever 'fesses up to it. No one did anything wrong. It was always the doctor's fault or their mother's fault or someone else's fault. But they always took the money and everything was happy. But when it comes down to being a man and standing up to it, they cower and whimper and blame someone else."

Clark and Burwell drew the same conclusion: This story is far from over.

"Someone else is going to be exposed," Burwell wrote. "That list of 104 anonymous players who tested positive several years ago is still out there, and you can believe that A-Rod won't be the only one exposed."

Mets might lose Delgado

Carlos Delgado's aching right hip is expected to sideline him for at least a few days, and New York team officials said they will decide by Friday whether to put him on the disabled list.

Delgado was out of the lineup for the second consecutive game last night against Atlanta. The slugging first baseman missed five straight starts before returning to the lineup May 4. He played seven consecutive games - with New York winning every one - then sat out Monday night's 8-3 loss to the Braves.

Noteworthy

Florida reliever Scott Proctor is expected to be out for a year after undergoing reconstructive surgery on his right elbow yesterday. He pitched last season for the Los Angeles Dodgers. . . . Mets outfielder Angel Pagan joined triple-A Buffalo on a rehabilitation assignment. Pagan had a bone spur removed from his right elbow in March. . . . Arizona placed slumping outfielder Conor Jackson on the 15-day disabled list with a "general illness." He has had a prolonged fever and cough. . . . Milwaukee signed utilityman Frank Catalanotto to a minor-league contract. . . . Pittsburgh activated shortstop Jack Wilson (sprained finger) off the 15-day DL . . . . Houston first baseman Lance Berkman returned after missing three games because of a sore left wrist. . . . St. Louis righthander Chris Carpenter threw off a mound for the first time since straining a muscle in his ribcage. Rightfielder Ryan Ludwick strained his right hamstring last night.

Contact staff writer Don McKee at 215-854-4611

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This article contains information from the Associated Press.