Notes: A day later, Wagner ready to pitch

Notes: Wagner says he's OK

NEW YORK -- Billy Wagner's dead arm is alive enough.

Wagner said he was ready to pitch if needed in Sunday's series finale against the Dodgers, a day after pronouncing himself unavailable for the ninth inning of Saturday's 4-3 win.

"It was a day that I was down," Wagner said. "It gave me a chance to bounce back and fill the tank a little bit."

Wagner said that the dead arm wasn't the cause of his struggles over the past week, in a stretch that saw him allow four runs -- almost a third of his season total -- in three innings.

And he was also quick to note that while the day off helped him recover, it didn't put this issue permanently in the past. If the Mets' place in the standings affords Wagner an opportunity to rest more often than normal over the season's final month, he'd be happy to oblige.

"If we get in there and our lead grows, there's more opportunity for that," Wagner said. "But if your lead shrinks? No. You just go out there and do your job."

Second option: Should Wagner need that extra rest in the coming weeks, setup man Aaron Heilman has proven he's a capable replacement.

Heilman closed out Saturday's win in neat order for his first save since 2005. That year -- one in which he also made seven starts -- Heilman saved five games, four of which came in September after the Mets were eliminated from playoff contention.

"That's always good," Heilman said of the experience. "It's not such a brand new situation."

Step back: The Mets sent Endy Chavez to Trenton on Sunday to continue his Minor League rehab assignment, after Chavez had spent the first two days of the weekend at Shea.

Chavez played nine innings of Double-A Binghamton's 14-inning win over the Thunder, finishing 0-for-3 with two walks. He will travel with the Mets to Philadelphia, though manager Willie Randolph -- while declaring Chavez completely healthy from June's strained left hamstring -- gave no indication of when his fourth outfielder might join the active roster.

The Mets have insisted that Chavez's activation is imminent, meaning that a wait until Sept. 1, when rosters expand, isn't expected. But with Ruben Gotay needed at second base for the injured Luis Castillo -- also due back on Monday -- the most obvious roster move remains illogical.

Yet another possibility remains prominent. After Brian Lawrence starts on Monday, his turn in the rotation won't come again until Sept. 1, with expanded rosters in place. The Mets could conceivably designate Lawrence for assignment on Monday night, replacing him in the rotation with one of their Minor League options -- possibly Mike Pelfrey or Philip Humber -- until Pedro Martinez claims that slot. While they'd risk losing Lawrence through a waiver claim, they'd also be securing Chavez for all but one game of a critical 10-game road trip.

Step forward: The Mets activated Paul Lo Duca after Sunday night's game, designating Sandy Alomar for assignment. He's expected to start behind the plate on Monday in Philadelphia, while Alomar will likely rejoin the team after rosters expand on Sept. 1.

Lo Duca wrapped up his rehab from a strained right hamstring on Saturday, catching seven innings for Binghamton and finishing 1-for-3 with a single.

Lucky number 70: After stealing his 70th base on Saturday afternoon, Jose Reyes is on pace to finish the year with 89 steals.

That would tie him for 36th place on the all-time single-season list -- impressive, but not mind-boggling. Yet what's more impressive is that he'd be the only player to crack the top 40 since 1988, and one of just seven players to do it in the 21st century.

Reyes credits his recent spike in steals -- he's swiped 20 bags this month -- to last month's acquisition of second hitter, Castillo. Before Castillo joined the team, Reyes was averaging one steal every 9.8 plate appearances. Since the trade, that number's dropped to 5.5.

"He'll take two strikes for me," Reyes said. "It's great to have him behind me hitting. When I'm at second base, he's going to do whatever it takes to try to move me over."

This date in Mets history -- Aug. 27: The Mets faced the great Warren Spahn for the last time on this date in 1965. Five weeks after he was released by the Mets, Spahn beat them with the Giants, 9-2, at Shea Stadium. The Giants hit five home runs, two by Willie McCovey and one by Willie Mays. Spahn allowed two runs in 6 2/3 innings and gained the second-to-last of his 363 career victories. ... The '69 Mets beat the first-year Padres for the 11th time in 12 games, 4-1, on this date with Jerry Koosman beating Clay Kirby. ... With their record 12 games under .500, the Mets launched a three-game winning streak on this date in 1973, in the first game of a three-game series against the Padres. Rusty Staub hit a grand slam in the 6-5 victory that also initiated the 24-9 run that carried the Mets to the division championship.

After a sacrifice fly by Keith Hernandez had produced a one-run lead in the top of the 11th inning, a stunning double play secured a 6-5 victory in San Diego on this date in 1986. With one out and Garry Templeton on second base, Tim Flannery singled sharply to center field. Lenny Dykstra threw out Templeton at the plate, with Templeton knocking catcher John Gibbons into a backward summersault, Gibbons recovered, stood and threw out Flannery at third base for the 27th out.

Coming up: The Mets head to the road for seven straight division games -- and 10 in a row overall -- beginning on Monday night with the first of four in Philadelphia. Lawrence will pitch for the Mets in the 7:05 p.m. ET start, opposite Phillies rookie J.D. Durbin.

Anthony DiComo is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.