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Mets move forward with same pieces in place

Mets move forward with same pieces in place

NEW YORK -- As a bank of clubhouse televisions ticked away the remaining minutes and seconds until Friday's non-waiver Trade Deadline, manager Jerry Manuel was doing anything other than paying attention. He had not been informed of any deals, because his team had made none. And since the Mets were preparing to play the D-backs -- not the Phillies or Marlins or anyone else -- Manuel saw little reason to speculate on the transformation of the National League East.

"I guess it's interesting water-cooler talk," Manuel said. "But when you go out to the beginning of a series for a team that you haven't seen all year, you spend the bulk of your time trying to prepare for them."

And so Manuel discussed the particular challenges presented by the D-backs, one of only five NL teams that have an inferior record to the Mets. Moments later, general manager Omar Minaya confirmed that New York, as expected, had stayed quiet at the deadline. And both men talked of the boost the team may receive when its injured players begin returning from the disabled list.

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The drill will be the same on Saturday evening, when Oliver Perez and the Mets take on Max Scherzer and the D-backs. And pending a waiver deal over the next month, the Mets will continue to play just as they did on Friday -- with the players already in their employ.

Minaya, a man known for bold moves and quick strikes, admitted that he would have been more tempted to make a deal had the Mets been closer to first place in either the division or Wild Card race. As it was, he had to balance the risk of acquiring a pricey veteran for the stretch run of what might be a lost season against his desire to maintain some semblance of a useful farm system.

In the end, Minaya rejected several deals that might have made the Mets slightly stronger in the short term but noticeably weaker in the future. The window is open for him to make a waiver deal -- though that, too, may depend upon how serious a playoff push the Mets can make.

"We worked on some things until the last moment," Minaya said. "We were just not able to get it done. We had an opportunity to do some things. But in the end, I felt that with what the teams were asking for, we just couldn't find a match."

If some of their injured players indeed return in the next few weeks, the Mets will effectively add bigger names than they could have through the trade market. If not, they will simply sit back and wait for their next opportunity to compete.

"Of course, as a player you get greedy sometimes," third baseman David Wright said. "You get selfish. You want to win now. But you have to understand it would be nice to get to the point where we have that chance to win every year."

Pitching matchup
NYM: LHP Oliver Perez (2-3, 7.42 ERA)
Perez, who awkwardly acknowledges that "walks are part of the game," surrendered another four in his most recent start, on Monday, a start that lasted merely five innings. And he allowed two home runs as well in what became a no-decision against the Rockies at Citi Field. He has yet to reach the seventh inning in the four starts he has made since returning to the rotation on July 8. Against the D-backs, he has a 1-5 record and 5.01 ERA in eight career starts. But he didn't face them last season and has an 0-1 record and 2.08 ERA in his two most recent starts, one in 2006 and the other in 2007.

ARI: RHP Max Scherzer (6-6, 3.61 ERA)
Scherzer is coming off perhaps his best outing of the year, a game in which he struck out eight batters over seven shutout innings, snapping a string of four consecutive starts without a victory. He faced the Mets only once last year as a rookie, in relief, firing two scoreless innings.

Tidbits
Former closer Billy Wagner (left elbow surgery) began a Minor League rehab assignment on Friday, striking out two in a perfect inning of relief for Class A St. Lucie. ... Starter John Maine (right shoulder weakness) will rest indefinitely after receiving a positive second opinion from Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala. According to Minaya, the Mets at some point may discuss shutting down Maine for the season. ... The D-backs have hit 20 points lower against left-handed pitchers (.235) than right-handers this season.

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• WPIX

On radio
• WFAN 660, WADO 1280 (Español)

Up next
• Sunday: Mets (Mike Pelfrey, 8-6, 4.72) vs. D-backs (Jon Garland, 5-10, 4.42), 1:10 p.m. ET
• Monday: Mets (Tim Redding, 1-4, 7.03) vs. D-backs (Dan Haren, 10-6, 2.19), 7:10 p.m. ET
• Tuesday: Mets (TBD) vs. Cardinals (Joel Pineiro, 9-9, 2.84), 7:10 p.m. ET

Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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