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Wagner on track to return on Monday

Wagner on track to return on Monday

WASHINGTON -- The Mets' well-publicized bullpen woes have caused some headache for the club's front office recently, but that might all come to an end as soon as Monday.

Closer Billy Wagner, currently on the disabled list with a strained left forearm, will be eligible to return to big league action that day, and Mets general manager Omar Minaya said Tuesday that the left-hander is "on track" to return to the Mets that day. He will pitch with the Class A Brooklyn Cyclones later this week to test his arm.

Though the Mets are considering several options at closer in Wagner's absence, manager Jerry Manuel said any pitcher put into the closer's role would be removed upon Wagner's return, and the veteran southpaw would resume his end-of-game duties.

"When we get him back, he's got to be the guy that has to handle those last three outs," Manuel said. "There's no doubt about it."

Another injured Met, outfielder Ryan Church, is making progress, according to Minaya. Out since July 8 with post-concussion syndrome, Minaya said Church is still in Florida, adding that the club's offseason acquisition had a good workout Tuesday and that he's "increasing the intensity of the workouts" he's doing.

Minaya also confirmed that Luis Castillo is still away from the team dealing with personal matters, and he declined to place a timetable on the second baseman's return to his rehab work with Class A Port St. Lucie.

When he returns, Minaya said Castillo will still have to complete his rehab stint before coming back to the Majors.

Ramon Castro was in the lineup at catcher Tuesday night for the first time since Aug. 7. He sustained a mild left ankle sprain on Aug. 2 against Houston, but never went on the DL.

Manuel indicated before the game that Castro is fine.

Zachary Osterman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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