Baxter's rehab progressing slower than expected

Baxter's rehab progressing slower than expected

WASHINGTON -- Despite some encouraging numbers on his Minor League rehab assignment, outfielder Mike Baxter is not close to a return from the disabled list.

Baxter is hitting .267 with three extra-base hits in 15 at-bats for Class A Advanced St. Lucie, but has appeared exclusively as a designated hitter. Because Baxter has not begun throwing, manager Terry Collins said, his return "is a ways out yet."

Sidelined since June 1 with a displaced right collarbone, which he suffered crashing against Citi Field's left-field wall to preserve Johan Santana's no-hitter, Baxter should slide back into a pinch-hitting role upon his return.

Though doctors initially expected him to miss six weeks, Baxter is already seven weeks into his recovery and rehab.

He was one of the league's best pinch-hitters prior to his injury, going 8-for-18 with five doubles in that role. Collins previously said Baxter will need at least 25-30 Minor League at-bats before he is ready to rejoin the Mets.