NEW YORK -- The Mets are in wait-and-see mode regarding the fifth spot in their starting rotation. Manager Terry Collins said Friday that Jeremy Hefner has done enough to start again in place of Miguel Batista, who went on the disabled list with a lower back strain last week.
Hefner, a former fifth-round Draft pick, pitched into the fourth inning of his first start Thursday in an outing that was interrupted by a rain delay. His next rotation turn will come up Tuesday against the Phillies, and Collins said that the Mets would re-evaluate his role when they have more information about Batista.
"I would think Jeremy Hefner would get the next start," he said. "The one after that, we'll have to wait and see. Hopefully Miguel is well enough. Miguel has pitched very well, but that fifth slot has gotten to where we've spent our bullpen. We're asking these guys to do stuff that they're really not comfortable doing, but that's just the nature of the game right now when you've got to eat up some innings."
The Mets been forced to look for another starter due to the season-ending injury to Mike Pelfrey, and Batista has posted a 1-1 record and a 4.00 ERA in four turns through the rotation.
The Mets have Chris Young working back from shoulder surgery, and he will pitch in a rehab game for Class A Port St. Lucie Thursday night. Young will need at least a few more starts, which leaves Hefner -- who went 3-2 with a 2.72 ERA in seven starts for Triple-A Buffalo -- as the best option.
"It's two-fold," said Collins. "Number one, in the first inning, he showed us very good stuff. He showed us great command of all three of his pitches. I do believe the rain delay affected him more than he'd let on, but the times out of the bullpen he's shown that he can be effective if he throws strikes. We just figured, give him another shot, because right now you've got to rearrange the roster again.
"You've got to start taking guys off, and each and every time you bring a guy up who's not on the roster, you take a chance of losing somebody. We're trying to avoid that if we can."