CINCINNATI -- Though Terry Collins recently decided not to use R.A. Dickey regularly on short rest down the stretch, that has not precluded the Mets manager from "burning up some pads and paper" in his continued search for a better starting pitching model.
The result of his machinations? Collins said Tuesday that he is considering moving to a six-man rotation in an effort to give Chris Young's and Johan Santana's surgically-repaired shoulders some extra rest.
"We're trying to figure out if that's going to help those guys out," Collins said. "When are we going to do it? I don't know."
Having swingman Jeremy Hefner pitch every sixth game, Collins said, would afford extra rest for both Young and Santana, who are playing out their first seasons following major shoulder surgeries. It would also allow the Mets to give extra rest to lefty Jon Niese, who has suffered either injuries or significant declines in performance in each of the past three Septembers; and to right-hander Matt Harvey, who is on a hard cap of 165-170 innings in his rookie season.
But not everyone is sold. Collins warned that such an unorthodox move could also throw off the rhythms of Niese and Dickey, who have both been pitching well. And it could potentially cost Dickey a start or two in his quest to win 20 games, or even the National League Cy Young Award.
So Collins will talk it over, continue putting pen to paper and look to see how Young and Santana perform this week. Then he will decide.
"There's a lot of variables to putting an extra guy in there," Collins said. "You stretch their rest time, and I'm not sure how it's going to affect some guys."