NEW YORK -- Oliver Perez continues to inch toward a return.
After picking up the win Tuesday for Class A St. Lucie, Perez was scheduled to report Wednesday to Triple-A Buffalo, where he will continue his Minor League rehab assignment.
Perez, who allowed two runs on two hits and three walks in 5 2/3 innings Tuesday, is due to come off the disabled list no later than July 29 -- though the organization does not yet have a role defined for him when he returns.
Still, the Mets will continue to stretch Perez out as a starting pitcher, thereby retaining their full array of options.
"You can go from starter to reliever very easily," Mets manager Jerry Manuel said. "It's very difficult to go from reliever to starter."
As long as Hisanori Takahashi remains in the rotation, Perez will have no place as a starter on the Mets. To that end, Manuel maintained Wednesday that Takahashi will continue to start games for the Mets after the All-Star break.
But Perez, who has been on the disabled list since June 5 with patella tendinitis in his right knee, now lurks in Buffalo. As long as he remains stretched out -- he threw 85 pitches Tuesday -- he will remain an option for the Mets.
"I think Ollie's a starter," Manuel said. "I think it's easy to take a guy that's a starter and if you needed to put him in the bullpen, you could."
Beltran looking strong for St. Lucie
NEW YORK -- With one week remaining before his activation, Carlos Beltran continues to produce.
Beltran finished 1-for-1 with a double, a walk and two runs scored Wednesday for Class A St. Lucie, upping his Florida State League average to .414 in 12 games. Wednesday's game was suspended in the bottom of the fifth inning due to rain, preventing Beltran from playing more than five innings in the field.
He is due to rejoin the Mets on July 15 in San Francisco.
Castillo set to start rehab assignment
NEW YORK -- Injured second baseman Luis Castillo will begin a Minor League rehabilitation assignment this weekend, according to manager Jerry Manuel.
Castillo, who has been on the disabled list since June 6 with a bruised right heel, is due to begin his rehab with Class A St. Lucie. Barring setbacks, he could rejoin the Mets toward the tail end of their 11-game, three-city West Coast swing following the All-Star break.
"It could possibly happen on the West Coast, but we'll see where it is," Manuel said.
Castillo, 34, was batting .241 with 13 runs and seven steals before his injury. Ruben Tejada and Alex Cora have manned second base in his absence.
Manuel all for Reyes getting chance to shine
NEW YORK -- Some managers would prefer their players to rest during the All-Star break. Jerry Manuel is not among them.
Despite Jose Reyes' injury woes, Manuel wants his shortstop to participate in next Tuesday's game in Anaheim -- and Reyes certainly has no qualms about playing.
"I think if you get selected to that and you feel that you can play, I'd like to see you participate," Manuel said. "I think it's quite an honor to play in that game."
Same goes for Mike Pelfrey, who could yet earn a nod as a replacement player. Though Pelfrey missed his chance Wednesday when National League manager Charlie Manuel named Heath Bell the replacement for the injured Yovani Gallardo, Pelfrey figures to be near the top of the waiting list.
"I'd like to see him honored, no doubt," Manuel said. "No question. Anytime someone that you work with that gets an opportunity to participate, you really hope it happens for him."
Reyes adjusting to righty-on-righty swings
NEW YORK -- Batting right-handed against righties may soon become second nature for Jose Reyes.
Still feeling pain in his sore right oblique, Reyes took his hacks right-handed Wednesday against Reds righty starter Bronson Arroyo. And he will continue to do so against right-handed starters until he can swing lefty without pain -- something he was unable to do both Tuesday and Wednesday.
"It still kind of hurts from the left side," Reyes said. "I'll try every day and see what happens."
Though Reyes has hit right-handed in the past against Yankees closer Mariano Rivera and Dodgers knuckleballer Charlie Haeger, he had not tried it against a conventional pitcher until grounding out against Logan Ondrusek in the seventh inning Tuesday -- an experience he referred to as "a little weird."
Manuel committed to Thole's playing time
NEW YORK -- With Raul Valdes back in the Majors and providing another bullpen arm, and Fernando Tatis on the disabled list, the question of how long the Mets would carry third catcher Josh Thole has suddenly turned into how the Mets can get Thole playing time.
Manager Jerry Manuel is committed to carrying three catchers -- Rod Barajas and Henry Blanco being the other two -- for the foreseeable future, which leaves questions about the development of the 23-year-old Thole, who has been used predominantly as a pinch-hitter.
After being scratched from Tuesday's original lineup, Thole got the start catching Jonathon Niese in Wednesday's game, and Manuel said he is likely to start Friday with R.A. Dickey's spot in the rotation coming up.
"You have to be careful in that they get enough time to continue to develop," Manuel said. "I always think it's a good thing to be able to develop in a winning situation and be a part of a winning situation, and I think this is good for him."
How often Thole will get the starting nod remains to be seen, but he has earned some favor with big hits off the bench on the team's most recent road trip, and Manuel likes the rapport he developed with the knuckleball-tossing Dickey, who Thole caught at Triple-A Buffalo before the two were promoted earlier in the season.
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.