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Notes: Mets not rushing Pedro back

Notes: Mets not rushing Pedro back

NEW YORK -- Pedro Martinez is making progress -- even as the platform remains the same.

Martinez will remain with Class A St. Lucie for a fourth Minor League rehab start -- a third with St. Lucie -- on Monday, after which the team will evaluate whether he's ready to join the Mets or needs one additional start.

"At the point where we are right now, it's going to be start to start," general manager Omar Minaya said. "We'll evaluate it after the start on Monday."

Martinez will throw 80 to 90 pitches in that outing, and he'll likely then advance either to Double-A Binghamton for a final rehab start or join the Mets on a road trip that takes them to Philadelphia, Atlanta and Cincinnati. If Martinez does first make another Minor League start, he'd be lined up to join the club at the start of a nine-game homestand on Sept. 7, which begins with three games against the Astros.

Martinez could have joined Double-A for his next start, but he opted instead to remain in a situation where he can worry less about the opposition and more about himself. Minaya said that his injured pitcher's greatest concern right now is location not velocity.

"Pedro needs to do what he wants to do in the at-bat," Minaya said. "The goal here is for him to pitch to the zone that he wants to pitch to. That doesn't matter whether it's done in 'A' ball or it's done in another area."

Stolen moments: Despite how Jose Reyes defers to Rickey Henderson -- "One-hundred thirty [stolen bases]? No way" -- Henderson believes his primary pupil can steal 100 bases, though not this season. Reyes established a Mets record for single-season steals (67) on Wednesday night, when he stole three against the Padres. And Henderson thinks the Mets leadoff man can reach 80-85, "maybe 90, if he's lucky" in the team's final 37 games.

But 100, the Mets first-base coach said, will take some doing and a change in strategy.

"You have to steal more early in the season," Henderson said, noting that he had stolen 73 before July in 1982, the year he set the big league record of 130. He had 77 by the midpoint of the A's season.

Henderson also suggested that stealing bases early in games is beneficial and that home runs interfere with stolen-base pursuits -- if only because the swing that produces home runs also produces fly balls that even Reyes can't beat out for hits. Henderson also hinted that, in some instances, he would opt to stop at second base and steal third rather than leg out a triple.

Home again: Paul Lo Duca began a Minor League rehab assignment with Class A Brooklyn on Thursday night. He'll play with the Cyclones on Thursday and Friday before finishing his rehab over the weekend with Double-A Binghamton.

Lo Duca, a Brooklyn native, is eligible to come off the disabled list on Monday.

Wright is right: After four walks on Wednesday night -- he equaled a Mets record for a nine-inning game -- David Wright has walked 20 times in 20 games. His on-base percentage was .402, the ninth-highest in the league among players who've appeared in more than 100 games. Wright has 80 RBIs and 26 stolen bases. No other National League player with at least 80 RBIs has more than nine steals except Carlos Beltran -- 83 RBIs and 16 swipes. Wright had scored 80 runs, the second most in the league among the 16 players with at least 80 RBIs. Of the nine NL players with more than 25 steals, only the Marlins' Hanley Ramirez (.583) has a slugging percentage higher than Wright's .519.

Bits and pieces: Through Wednesday, Beltran had driven in 12 runs in a three-game sequence. .... The run-scoring single by Jeff Conine in the ninth inning on Wednesday was his 10th hit in 23 pinch-hit at-bats this season, a .435 average. ... Reyes (67) and Wright (26) have stolen 93 bases, more than any team in the league other than the Dodgers and Phillies. The teammates with the second-most total steals are Colorado's Willy Taveras (29) and Kazuo Matsui (27).

No no-no: Ineffective relief pitching isn't restricted to the big league team in the Mets organization as of late. After Philip Humber came within two outs of pitching a no-hitter for Triple-A New Orleans on Wednesday, the Zephyrs had to survive a 10-inning game to win.

Ambiorix Burgos, who started the season with the Mets, replaced Humber immediately after Triple-A Iowa Cubs pinch-hitter John Nelson singled with one out in the ninth. Burgos then surrendered a run-scoring double, threw a wild pitch and allowed a double and a single that tied the score at 3.

The Zephyrs won, 4-3, in the 10th, when Andy Tracy walked with the bases loaded.

Humber, who has a 10-9 record in 24 starts, walked one and struck out 10. His ERA dropped to 4.43. The Mets' first pick in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft had retired 16 straight batters before Nelson's hit.

"I threw two breaking balls to start him off and then a fastball away that he was able to put a good swing on," Humber said. "After the fifth or sixth inning, you try to bear down a little more. The coaches asked me how I felt in the seventh, and I felt pretty good at that point. I hadn't gone into the ninth inning yet this year, and I started to tire a little. Maybe I tried to do a little too much."

Humber threw 123 pitches.

"Last time out [against Nashville], I hadn't allowed a hit through three innings, and I didn't make it out of the fourth inning in that game," Humber said. "So I tried not to worry about it too much."

This date in Mets history -- Aug. 24: The first-year Mets, who already had lost to Don Drysdale four times in four games, beat him on this date in 1962. They scored all their runs in a 6-2 victory at the Polo Grounds against Drysdale, who finished his career with a 24-6 record against them. ... With Ron Swoboda driving in four runs, the '69 Mets defeated the Dodgers, 7-4, at Shea Stadium for the third victory in a winning streak of six games that would put their record 22 games over .500 and place them 2 1/2 games behind the first-place Cubs.

Jerry Koosman pitched a 10-inning shutout, and the Mets defeated a nemesis, Juan Marichal, on this date in 1973. They won, 1-0, at Shea, scoring their run when Felix Millan singled in Ken Boswell. A key play in the inning was a sacrifice bunt by the Mets' leadoff hitter, Willie Mays. The sacrifice was the last one of 13 Mays had in his career. Perspective: Barry Bonds has four, one since 1989. ... Keith Hernandez and Kevin McReynolds drove in runs in the eighth inning to secure a 2-1 Mets victory against the Dodgers and Orel Hershiser in Los Angeles on this date in 1988. The victory was one of 10 the Mets produced in 11 regular-season games against the Dodgers that year. They faced Hershiser in that game only before he crushed them in the playoffs.

Coming up: Oliver Perez (11-8, 3.52 ERA) and Brad Penny (14-3, 2.59) oppose each other on Friday night at 7:10 ET at Shea Stadium in the first game of a three-game set, the eighth contest between the Mets and Dodgers this season.

Anthony DiComo is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Marty Noble contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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