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Rain gives banged-up Mets wlecome day off

Jun 4, 2009 - 1:26 AM PITTSBURGH(AP) -- New York manager Jerry Manuel downplayed the latest bit of discouraging injury news to come the Mets way.

All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes only made it through three innings of an extended spring training game in Port St. Lucie, Fla., on Wednesday before complaining of discomfort in his right leg.

Reyes, on the 15-day disabled list with tendinitis under his calf, flew back to New York to be re-examined, but Manuel did not seem overly concerned.

"All the indications I have is that it wasn't as damaging as it sounded," Manuel said. "So maybe instead of Friday, then we'll have him back by the weekend. If not, then definitely for the Phillies series when we get home."

New York's game against the Pirates was rained out, giving the banged-up Mets a welcome day off. The game will be made up July 2 at 12:35 p.m. in Pittsburgh. The two teams will complete their four-game series Thursday afternoon with the two pitchers who were supposed to throw Wednesday - New York's Mike Pelfrey and Pittsburgh's Ross Ohlendorf.

Outfielder Ryan Church, who is on the DL with a strained right hamstring, played six innings at Port St. Lucie and reported no issues. He is to play seven innings Thursday and, assuming no setbacks, could come off the disabled list when eligible next week.

Manuel also said reliever J.J. Putz won't be used as the team's primary setup man and rookie Bobby Parnell will move into the eighth-inning role ahead of closer Francisco Rodriguez.

Putz has 102 career saves - including 40 while posting a 1.38 ERA for the Mariners in 2007 - but has struggled this season, going 1-4 with a 4.76 ERA.

In his last two appearances, he allowed six runs on six hits and two walks while recording only one out.

"He has been given less responsibility than he was given before, just to get him right, get him on the right track," Manuel said.

Parnell is 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA and 20 strikeouts in 21 2-3 innings.

Pittsburgh's unscheduled day off was a busy one for the organization.

The Pirates traded All-Star outfielder Nate McLouth to the Atlanta Braves for three players and recalled prized prospect Andrew McCutcheon to take his place on the roster.

New York, which had lost three of four, added another player to its disabled list Wednesday, the sixth in the past month.

Infielder Ramon Martinez, who broke his right pinkie finger sliding into home Tuesday night, went on the 15-day DL and will have surgery.

"The prognosis right now is no baseball activities for six weeks, but we'll see what happens after surgery," assistant general manager John Ricco said.

Replacing Martinez on the active roster is outfielder Emil Brown, acquired from the San Diego Padres Friday for a player to be named.

Brown, 34, was hitting .260 with four home runs and 22 RBIs for the Padres' Triple-A affiliate in Portland.

"He has a history of doing pretty well against lefties and will balance out the bench a little bit," Ricco said.

All-star outfielder Carlos Beltran and starting pitcher John Maine both felt much better Wednesday after dealing with stomach viruses the past few days.

Beltran was in uniform, worked out and was in the posted lineup Wednesday before the game was postponed.

"After hitting in the machine, he came in and said, 'I feel good. I want to play,"' Manuel said. "So I said, 'Yeah, you're playing.'

"In that type of situation, the only remedy is to play."

Maine is on track to make his next scheduled start Friday.

Ricco also said that no other players have complained of any flu-like symptoms or illnesses. Tuesday, it was revealed that a television production employee who travels with the team was being isolated because of some strain of the flu.

The Pirates have their own injuries: Cleanup hitter and catcher Ryan Doumit and four relievers are currently on the disabled list.

"They had some key guys go down, but so have we," Pittsburgh manager John Russell said of the Mets. "It's just something that every team has to deal with occasionally. You just hope when things like that happen, guys aren't out too long. It's part of the game. We've had to deal with it; they've had to deal with it and every team has had to deal with those situations."

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