NEW YORK -- For a long while after Ryan Howard struck R.A. Dickey with a line drive in Tuesday's game, Dickey's left elbow carried an imprint of the baseball's seam. A day later, the only evidence that remained was a large purple bruise on Dickey.
"It's fairly swollen, but it's OK," Dickey said. "I have some more mobility in it."
Dickey does not believe he will have a problem making his next scheduled start this Sunday in Milwaukee. And after two consecutive strong outings from the knuckleballer, the Mets are willing to give him the opportunity.
"We definitely would like to see him out there again," manager Jerry Manuel said. "No doubt about that."
Because of the injury to Dickey's non-pitching arm, the Mets are not likely to use him in relief this week. But Manuel said he would consider doing so between starts in the future. Dickey feels that his knuckleball dances best when he is slightly fatigued, allowing him to pitch between starts.
Nieve earns spot start for Mets
Needing a spot start, the Mets will look to a familiar face.
Fernando Nieve, who made seven starts for the Mets last season, will be the Mets starter on Saturday. Pending his performance, Nieve will have an opportunity to remain in the rotation thereafter.
"If he does well, he will continue to get the ball," Manuel said on Wednesday. "And if we come into a situation where we have too many starters, I think that's all good, too."
Nieve, 27, streaked to a hot start out of the bullpen after losing the fifth-starter's competition to Jon Niese in Spring Training. But overuse led to a downward spiral for Nieve, who has produced an 8.00 ERA in 12 appearances this month.
Once a top starting pitching prospect for the Astros, Nieve has thrown mostly out of the bullpen since 2006, relying on a mid-90s fastball and low-80s slider. Against the Brewers, Nieve said he plans on mixing in more changeups and curveballs.
"I went to Spring Training to get a spot in the rotation," he said. "Now I have a chance to be there. I hope to do good, make a good impression for them to keep me in the rotation."
In seven starts for the Mets last season, Nieve went 3-3 with a 3.12 ERA. He is 1-2 with a 5.32 ERA out of the bullpen this season, his 26 appearances trailing only teammate Pedro Feliciano (27) on the Major League leaderboard.
"He deserves a shot, in my opinion," Manuel said. "I thought he pitched very well here last year. And then competing against Jon Niese in spring for that fifth spot -- I don't know if he did a lot to lose it, but we thought he fit better for us in the 'pen. Right now, he is the leading candidate."
Niese, who is rehabbing from a strained right hamstring, is due to throw a second bullpen session Thursday and make a Minor League rehab start early next week. If Nieve pitches well, and both R.A. Dickey and Hisanori Takahashi continue to thrive in the rotation, then the Mets will have six starters for five spots when Niese returns. If John Maine returns from the disabled list when he is eligible shortly thereafter, the Mets could have as many as seven starters on the active roster.
It is a problem they are willing to endure.
"A big part of it is to continue to create depth in the starting rotation," Manuel said. "As any organization, you try to continue to create depth in the starting rotation. If he can do that and we can get John Maine back, Jonathon Niese back, it really puts us in a good position to be consistent throughout the remainder of the 100 or so games that you have left."
Manuel said he believes Nieve could throw "at least" 80 pitches Saturday; Nieve estimated the number at "70 to 80."
Wrist won't keep Barajas out long
NEW YORK -- Sporting a heavy bandage on his right wrist after blocking a ball in the seventh inning Wednesday, Mets catcher Rod Barajas was in a considerable amount of pain. But he shouldn't miss much time.
"I'm OK playing through pain," Barajas said after the Mets' 5-0 win over the Phillies. "It's just a matter of rest, and right now, I don't want to rest. I want to play. As long as were playing well and heading in the right direction, I want to be a part of this."
Barajas injured his wrist attempting to block a Jenrry Mejia pitch, which skipped up off the dirt, over his glove and into his arm. He, Mejia, manager Jerry Manuel and trainer Ray Ramirez met for a brief conference at the mound, but Barajas convinced the group to allow him to continue playing.
A precautionary X-ray on Barajas' wrist came back negative.
Slowly but surely, Reyes on hot streak
NEW YORK -- For the first time in a long time Tuesday night, Jose Reyes rounded second base and set his eyes on third.
"It had been a while since I had my last triple," Reyes said. "So I wanted to get one there."
He did, finishing with three hits and two stolen bases for the first time since July 6, 2008. After a slow start recovering from a thyroid imbalance -- not to mention nearly a full year away from baseball after last season's hamstring problems -- Reyes entered Wednesday's play on a 7-for-12 run at the plate. He belted a solo homer and hit an RBI single in Thursday's 5-0 win over the Phillies to make it nine hits in his past 14 at-bats.
"This was a lesson definitely for me, when a guy misses as much time as he missed, thinking that he could pick it right up and be fine," Mets manager Jerry Manuel said. "I think it was very challenging to him."
NY Giants pick Jones takes in Citi Field
NEW YORK -- The last time New York Giants third-round pick Chad Jones was on a baseball field, he was celebrating winning the College World Series with LSU in Omaha, Neb.
The former college outfielder and relief pitcher got to step on a baseball field once again as the New York Mets welcomed 19 members from the Giants' draft and free-agent class to Wednesday's game against the Phillies, including first-rounder Jason Pierre-Paul.
Jones didn't get to throw out the first pitch, but he said he touched 94 mph on the radar gun in his pitching days and routinely threw about 90.
Before becoming predominantly a reliever in his junior year at LSU, the Houston Astros drafted Jones in the 13th round out of St. Augustine High School in New Orleans as an outfielder.
"I definitely gave [professional baseball] serious thought when I was drafted out of high school," Jones said.
Now the former LSU Tiger said he is dedicated to playing football at the highest level, though many 2010 MLB Draft projections have him as a top-150 player, and adjusting to the fast-paced lifestyle of New York City.
"My first time walking around Times Square was just crazy," Jones said. "I was thinking it was Mardi Gras, it's got so many people. I love it."
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Kyle Maistri is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.