One pitcher short, Manuel not concerned

One pitcher short, Manuel not concerned

NEW YORK -- Since recalling catcher Josh Thole and sending reliever Raul Valdes down to Triple-A Buffalo on Thursday, the Mets have been one arm short in the bullpen.

The absence of Valdes means they have been carrying 11 pitchers instead of the traditional 12, something with which manager Jerry Manuel has no problem.

"Our only problem comes when we get people up in the fourth or fifth inning -- then we have an issue," Manuel said. "But as long as our guys get us to the fifth and sixth, the regular work our guys are getting down there is beneficial to them. I've always felt that if you have a good starting rotation, you only need 11 pitchers."

In case of an emergency or a few short starts in a row, Manuel can use knuckleball starter R.A. Dickey in the middle of his off-days between starts.

Dickey, who is scheduled to start Monday's game, said that the coaching staff approached him and told him he was available on Friday and Saturday.