NEW YORK -- Between innings on Sunday, manager Jerry Manuel walked down to the clubhouse tunnel, where Oliver Perez was hiding to keep warm. There, Manuel said, he saw several players talking with Perez and encouraging him.

"They want so bad for Oliver to do well," Manuel said. "I don't see it as a time or a place now where they are fed up with it."

To that end, Manuel on Monday reiterated his stance that Perez will be given every opportunity to succeed in the rotation. Perez will make his next start, on Friday in Miami. And the Mets have given no indication that they will remove him thereafter if he fares poorly.

Rather than condemn Perez, Manuel blamed his Sunday struggles on the low-50s temperatures and the blustery winds that blew through Citi Field all afternoon.

"I think the wind and cold was a challenge for him yesterday," Manuel said. "Obviously, in those conditions, hitters, players, pitchers need to make adjustments. Sometimes for someone whose mechanics and fundamentals are so sensitive, it could cause a problem for him." -- Anthony DiComo

Castillo returns to starting lineup

NEW YORK -- Sporting an orthopedic wrap on his left foot, Luis Castillo was back in the starting lineup on Monday, playing second base.

"I need to play," Castillo said. "I want to play. If it doesn't feel better, I don't know what we'll do."

Castillo came through for the Mets in the seventh, plating their first run with an RBI single.

An injury that has dogged him since Spring Training, the bone bruise in Castillo's left foot will not disappear overnight. More likely, it may linger for the rest of the season, even if it does not necessarily limit him on the field.

"He's had some issues with it before," manager Jerry Manuel said. "I think they have done a tremendous job in treating it. It might be one of those things that just occasionally will need rest. I don't see it as something that will hinder him from playing at the level he's playing at this point."

The orthopedic wrap should help, allowing Castillo to more comfortably put weight on the foot. Already he is playing through the pain. Sporting the wrap for the first time on Sunday, Castillo -- though still hurting -- singled in a late-game appearance against the Giants.

"Yesterday we didn't have any more options," Manuel said. "We didn't have any more players."

In 26 games this season, Castillo is batting .271 with five stolen bases. Last year he somewhat put to rest his reputation as being injury-prone, playing in 142 games. --Anthony DiComo

Igarashi close to rehab assignment

NEW YORK -- Reliever Ryota Igarashi has thrown off a mound on multiple occasions and "is getting close" to a Minor League rehab assignment, according to assistant general manager John Ricco.

Igarashi, who was placed on the disabled list on April 21 with a strained left hamstring, posted a 1.35 ERA in seven games before the injury. Inked to a two-year, $3 million contract this past offseason, he spent early April working his way up the Mets' bullpen hierarchy.

When he returns, he should give the Mets another late-game option to complement lefty Pedro Feliciano and right-hander Fernando Nieve in the bullpen.

Reyes, Manuel ejected after strike call

NEW YORK -- Shortstop Jose Reyes and manager Jerry Manuel were both ejected from Monday's game against the Nationals after arguing with home-plate umpire Laz Diaz.

Diaz promptly ejected Reyes after he argued and slammed his helmet on the ground following a called strike three in the seventh inning. That brought out Manuel, who also earned an ejection following a brief but animated argument.

"I thought that pitch was a little low," Reyes said. "But I was frustrated, too, because I didn't want to strike out in a big situation. I wanted to come through there."

The Mets had gone 30 games without an ejection and now have three in their last two games. Third baseman David Wright was ejected for arguing balls and strikes in Sunday's series finale against the Giants. --Anthony DiComo

Thole up with Blanco on bereavement list

NEW YORK -- The Mets recalled Josh Thole from Triple-A Buffalo and placed backup catcher Henry Blanco on the bereavement list before Monday's game against the Nationals.

Blanco left to be with his mother, who has fallen ill, and will be gone for an undisclosed amount of time, though he can only remain on the bereavement list for three to seven days.

"He felt it necessary that he be there, so [per] organization policy, we give him that freedom to take care of that situation," manager Jerry Manuel said.

Thole is with the Mets for the first time this season after hitting .321 in 53 at-bats with the team in 2009.

The 23-year old catcher has struggled in Triple-A this season, hitting .203 with a .599 OPS in 89 plate appearances.

"[It's the] first time I've struggled in my whole career," Thole said. "I got off to a slow start, but I'm slowly digging my way out now."

Manuel has never been worried about Thole's hitting and was glad to see that the young catcher has improved his defense since Spring Training. He said that Thole could get the start on Wednesday afternoon depending on how Rod Barajas feels after catching Tuesday night's game. -- Kyle Maistri

Manuel, Wright examining at-bats, strikeouts

NEW YORK -- David Wright hasn't hit the ball between the white lines much lately.

Over the weekend's three-game series with the Giants, Wright came to the plate 14 times, drew three walks and struck out eight times.

Wright fanned a career-high 140 times in 144 games last season and is on pace to strike out 190 times in the same number of games this season.

"When those strikeouts come in the manner that they are coming -- when they come in bunches like that -- then we have to start looking to see why," manager Jerry Manuel said. "Is it as simple as mechanics, fundamentals, those types of things? Selection? So we're in the process of trying to, as a staff, figure that out. We haven't quite gotten there yet, to be honest with you."

Selection appears to be the most likely explanation.

Though Wright's batting average is 38 points below his career average, his on-base (.400) and slugging percentages (.528) are both above his career averages.

Wright has also walked 24 times this year, putting him on pace for 125 over the season, which would shatter his previous high of 94.

So although Wright may be striking out more than usual, he's getting on base more than usual, too. -- Kyle Maistri