The Mets hope to take advantage of six games against the last-place Nationals and struggling Marlins after going 5-5 on their trek to the West Coast and back. But for the time being, they'll have to do so without shortstop Jose Reyes, who missed his fourth consecutive game on Monday night with tendinitis in his right calf.
Reyes once again tested the calf in warmups before Monday night's contest with Washington. He remains uncomfortable going all-out, however, and Ramon Martinez made his fifth start of the season in Reyes' place.
"I'm not ready yet to go full speed," Reyes said. "There's less pain, but it's still there. It doesn't let me do what I want to do."
Manager Jerry Manuel mentioned the possibility of placing Reyes on the disabled list if he can't play by Friday, when New York opens a three-game set with Florida. The move would be retroactive to last Wednesday, when Reyes left a game in Los Angeles in the third inning.
"If he's not ready by Friday, we wouldn't be losing as many days on the DL going forward," Manuel said.
Reyes acknowledged that he won't be 100 percent for a few weeks and that the lingering pain could hinder his aggressiveness on the basepaths.
Manuel, meanwhile, won't hesitate to plug his shortstop into an already depleted lineup if and when he's ready.
"Sometimes his 80 or 90 [percent] might be better than what we have," he said. "If you don't feel you could injure yourself anymore, you can play at that 80 or 90 percent."
Reyes is far from the only Met dealing with a nagging injury. Outfielder Ryan Church missed his third straight game because of pain in his hamstring, although he did say he was feeling better than he did over the weekend in Boston.
If Church has to go on the DL, the Mets could call up highly touted prospect Fernando Martinez, who is hitting .291 with eight home runs at Triple-A Buffalo.
"Is he ready? He's getting close to being ready," general manager Omar Minaya said of Martinez on Monday. "He'll be one of the options if we did have to make a move."
New York did get good news concerning Carlos Beltran, who returned to center field on Monday night after being limited to designated hitter duties in Boston because of a contusion on his knee.
The day-to-day statuses of such starters as Reyes and Church have left the Mets' bench shorthanded -- a bigger concern now that the team is returning to Citi Field and National League rules.
"It becomes a difficult challenge, because you need those pinch-hits and that versatility," Manuel said. "In the NL, if you're down a couple of players, it definitely limits your strategy."
Tim Britton is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.