NEW YORK -- Ruben Tejada is the starting shortstop for the second straight game for two reasons. Luis Castillo has been given a night off -- he is available to pinch-hit -- to rest his right calf. He strained the calf running the bases on Opening Day. He played in the second and third games but asked for a day off in the fourth game.

Jerry Manuel said he has Tejada playing shortstop and Alex Cora playing second because Tejada is more comfortable playing short, his natural position. Left unsaid is that Tejada's presence on the left side of the infield with right-handed Mike Pelfrey throwing ground balls creates a benefit that wouldn't exist were Cora playing shortstop.

Tejada expects to be assigned to the Minor Leagues when Reyes returns.

Pagan leads off Mets' lineup against Nats

NEW YORK -- The posted batting order for the Mets' game against the Nationals on Friday included Angel Pagan leading off and Mike Jacobs batting fifth, after No. 3 David Wright and No. 4 Jason Bay, against right-hander Garrett Mock.

Jerry Manuel had said he preferred to have Jacobs' left-handed bat separating Wright and Bay. But he noted before the game that when he has Pagan batting leadoff, he can't carry the lefty-righty alternating plan through the rest of the order. So Jacobs was followed by Jeff Francoeur, Rod Barajas and Ruben Tejada.

Pagan batting leadoff will be short-lived, of course, because of the pending return of Jose Reyes on Saturday.

This day in Mets history ... April 9

NEW YORK -- The 1963 Mets were shut out on Opening Day by Ernie Broglio of the Cardinals who pitched a two-hitter, surrendering both hits to Larry Burright in the 7-0 game at the Polo Grounds. The Mets were shut out four times in their first eight games, all losses, and scored just three runs in their first five games. ... Nolan Ryan earned the first of his three career saves on this date in 1969, pitching the last 1 2/3 innings in the Mets' 9-5 victory against the Expos at Shea Stadium. ... Gary Carter made his Mets debut on this date in 1985, hitting a game-winning home run against Neil Allen in the 10th inning. The Mets won that Opening Day game, 6-5, against the Cardinals at Shea.

On Opening Day, 1990, Jeff Innis, the Mets' sixth reliever, surrendered a monster two-run home run to Bobby Bonilla of the Pirates in the eighth inning of a 12-3 loss. The ball landed well beyond the right-field bullpen. Innis walked off the distance the following day and estimated, "The ball landed closer to Neptune than Pluto." ... On this date in 1992, Anthony Young pitched a complete game in the Mets' 7-1 victory in St. Louis. Young won in relief 10 days later but not again until July 28, 1993, by which time he had lost 27 consecutive decisions. His streak-ending victory came in relief in a 5-4 game against the Marlins at Shea. ... Mike Piazza hit two home runs and drove in five runs in the Mets' 9-4 victory against the Braves at Shea on this date in 2001. ... A double by Todd Zeile in the 11th inning drove in the decisive run in the Mets' 3-2 victory against the Expos on this date in 2004. The game was played in San Juan, P.R. Orber Moreno, one of 26 pitchers the Mets used that year, was the winner. Zeile was one of the 26. He made the second and final pitching appearance of his career against the Expos on July 26.

The third RBI of the game by David Wright -- it came on a sacrifice fly in the ninth inning -- produced the winning run in a 3-2 victory against the Marlins at Shea Stadium on this date in 2006. Wright had a two-run triple in the seventh. ... Trailing 5-3 through 6 1/2 innings, the Mets scored once in the seventh and seven times in the eighth to beat the Phillies, 11-5, in their opening home game on April 9, 2007.

Worth noting

NEW YORK -- Jeff Francoeur has a hit in all four games this season. ... Ruben Tejada produced his first big league hit in the eighth inning with a single against Tyler Walker. He also walked and scored once. And when his second straight shortstop start was over, he was optioned to the Mets' Triple-A Buffalo affiliate to create room for Jose Reyes.

Fernando Nieve became the first Met to pitch in each of the first four games to start a season. He pitched a scoreless eighth inning Friday night. Doug Sisk pitched in three straight games at the beginning of the 1985 season. Nieve has not allowed a run in four innings. ... David Wright's powerful double on Friday night moved him within two of the franchise record for doubles, 225, established by Ed Kranepool. ... Jason Bay has had at least one hit in each of the Mets' four games.