The Mets informed Lima he had been designated for assignment following their win over the Yankees on Friday night. Lima leaves the Mets with an 0-3 record and a 8.79 ERA.
To replace Lima, the Mets called up relief pitcher Anderson Garcia from Triple-A Norfolk, who will throw out of the bullpen for the next five days.
A change was imminent, as Lima was unable to make it past the fifth inning in each of his three starts, all of which the Mets lost. He allowed five runs in each of his outings and gave up a total of 18 hits while posting 10 strikeouts.
With Jeremi Gonzalez throwing just three-plus innings on Friday night, the Mets were forced into making a decision between Lima and Gonzalez based on the performance of the two in the past week. If the Mets were to maintain the Lima-Gonzalez sequence and based on the their limited workload, the bullpen almost would be guaranteed of working eight innings in a two-day period.
"That works against us," skipper Willie Randolph said.
Garcia will help ease the stress put on the bullpen, as the 25-year-old right-hander brings a 1-0 record in eight games pitched with a 1.26 ERA and nine strikeouts in 14 1/3 innings while at Norfolk. The 6-foot-2 Dominican Republic native -- who was acquired in a 2003 trade from the Yankees along with fellow Minor Leaguers Jason Anderson and Ryan Biconda for Armando Benitez -- also compiled a 1-1 record with one save and a 1.59 ERA and 15 strikeouts in 17 innings pitched while at Double-A Binghamton this season.
The Mets now must decide on who will replace Lima in the starting rotation, considering Brian Bannister's setback on Thursday in which he aggravated his right hamstring running to cover first base in his abridged five-pitch rehab start. Options to start on Wednesday when Lima would have thrown include Gonzalez, considering his short outing on Friday, reliever Darren Oliver or Minor Leaguer Alay Soler.
Oliver seems like a good fit after he replaced Gonzalez against the Yankees and pitched two innings of shutout ball. The 6-foot-2 lefty allowed two hits and struck out two on 25 pitches.
Soler has a 1-0 record and 2.75 ERA with Binghamton this season and has 16 strikeouts in 19 2/3 innings pitched. If Soler does get the nod, though, Garcia will most likely be the one to be returned to the Minors.
As far as Lima is concerned, if no team acquires him in 10 days, then he will be given the choice to be assigned to the Minors.
Heilman shines again: Aaron Heilman came through with another stellar performance out of the 'pen again. But, forget about any notion of a start in the near future.
Randolph made it clear before Friday night's game that a solid bullpen with Heilman in it is better than without him.
"What we feel is best for our team is his innings out of the bullpen," Randolph said before Friday's game.
And, the prophetic Randolph seemed just that after Heilman entered the game in the sixth inning with the game tied at 6 and proceeded to throw three innings of shutout ball to set up Billy Wagner's ninth-inning win.
"That's where we believe he helps us out the most, period," said Randolph.
Boom goes Beltran: Carlos Beltran is on quite a roll over the past two weeks. The outfielder has six home runs, including Friday night's blast, and 16 RBIs in his last 13 games. Beltran now has seven homers in the month of May for a total of 11 for the season.
Have bats, will come back: While the Mets starting rotation seems limited to two quality pitchers right now, their bats have come through in its demise. Friday night's win was their ninth come-from-behind victory and the fifth walk-off win of the season. The win over the Yankees also matched the largest comeback margin of the season (four runs), which equaled the Mets' rally against Atlanta on May 5.
New York, New York: Friday night's attendance of 56,289 was the seventh-largest crowd in Shea Stadium's history and the largest versus the Yankees. The previous high was 55,953 on May 22, 2005.
Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. MLB.com associate reporter Chris Girandola contributed to this article. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.