PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) -Moises Alou is approaching his 42nd birthday and his 17th year in big leagues. He's also looking forward to a breakout season.
Last spring, Alou arrived at camp and spoke about taking another shot at a World Series title and then walking away from the game to spend more time with his family.
On Wednesday, Alou was already eyeing 2009.
``The past three years I've been looking forward for the season to be over, to go home and retire,'' the outfielder said. ``But now I'm looking forward to a good season, so they can ask me to back to play another year.''
Alou hit .341 with 13 home runs and 49 RBIs in 328 at-bats last season, including .402 down the stretch in September.
``I was very disappointed that it wasn't good enough for us to make the playoffs,'' he said. ``It happened in 2004 with the Cubs. I had a great September that year also. You go home feeling great, but you can' play anymore.''
Alou said he started his offseason workouts much earlier than in the past in hopes of staying healthy and getting 500 at-bats, something he has not done since that 2004 season.
``You only have one chance to play baseball, a small window,'' Alou said. ``A lot of people could be sitting here. I had a great time in the offseason - hunting, fishing, going to the beach. But that's not what I like doing most. Playing baseball is what I like doing most, and I would love to do that for another couple of years.''
Mets manager Willie Randolph says he will take quality over quantity when it comes to Alou.
``It's doable for me,'' Randolph said. ``But you look at his track record and he's had his share of bumps and bruises and ups and downs. Moises is in great shape and in a perfect world I'd like to run him out there every day but that might not be realistic.''
Still, Randolph said having a healthy Alou in the middle of the Mets lineup was a big part of the plan.
``Some guys just have a knack,'' Randolph said. ``They just have that gift, man. His genes are solid. He's got his father, brothers, uncles and cousins who played in the big leagues. ... He?s one of those rare people who can roll out of bed and hit a line drive.''
Notes: Earlier this week, reliever Ambiorix Burgos told Port St. Lucie police he was missing a bag of jewelry worth more than $270,000. Burgos said he'd changed hotel rooms over the weekend and later noticed it was gone. Hours after he made the report, the hotel staff told police a man tossed the bag on the front counter, saying he'd found it outside, and drove away. Port St. Lucie police were investigating the case, police spokesman Rob Vega said. Vega said Burgos checked the bag and discovered about five pieces of jewelry, valued at between $20,000 and $30,000, were still gone. ... INF Fernando Tatis and RHP Tony Armas Jr. were the only two players still not in camp as of Wednesday.

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