SAN FRANCISCO -- Carlos Beltran hardly slept Wednesday evening -- and it wasn't due to jetlag.

"I just want to help this team win ballgames," Beltran said Thursday afternoon. "That's my goal. I'm excited, anxious, but once this day is over, everything comes back down to normal."

Beltran spoke those words some four hours before making his 2010 debut, starting in center field for the Mets and batting cleanup. After missing the entire first half of the season recovering from right knee surgery, Beltran is aware of the expectations surrounding his return -- and completely ready to ignore them.

"I'm not a savior," Beltran said. "I'm just going to come here and play the game hard."

Beltran's presence did have one immediate impact on the Mets, shifting Angel Pagan to right field and regular right fielder Jeff Francoeur to the bench. Though manager Jerry Manuel has not completely determined when and how often he will use Beltran, he has worked out a rough rotation to split time amongst his now-crowded outfield. Most likely, Beltran will play Thursday, Friday and Sunday; Pagan will start in right field Thursday and in center Saturday; and Francoeur will start in right field Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

With few exceptions, Jason Bay will continue to play nearly every day in left field.

Reyes a quick scratch vs. Giants

SAN FRANCISCO -- Jerry Manuel figured his shortstop was good to go, so he scrawled Jose Reyes' name into the Mets lineup Thursday afternoon.

Then, roughly 15 minutes later, Manuel scratched it out.

Still feeling discomfort from his strained right oblique, Reyes sat Thursday for the eighth time in 12 games since injuring his side last month in Puerto Rico. And, on orders from the Mets medical staff, Reyes will continue to sit until he feels no pain whatsoever.

"What transpired is I assumed that he was ready to play," Manuel said. "I put him in the lineup and then [athletic trainer] Ray [Ramirez] came to me and said there's still a bit of discomfort even though he feels much improved. And I took him out of the lineup."

Though the switch-hitting Reyes -- who has yet to hit left-handed in a game -- took lefty swings twice last weekend, he did not do so during All-Star festivities in Anaheim. Nor will Reyes do so in San Francisco until he feels completely healthy. He is under strict orders not to swing a bat at all until his oblique has healed.

That means that although the Mets will oppose lefty starter Barry Zito in Friday's game, giving Reyes the opportunity to hit right-handed the natural way, he still may not be able to play. In four games last week, Reyes hit right-handed against righty pitchers, before aggravating the muscle last Saturday in the field.

"The first weeks, I had a lot of pain there," Reyes said. "I still feel something there. It's getting better, but it's slow. The doctors, they don't want to take any chances."

Reyes said that he spoke at the All-Star Game with David Ortiz of the Red Sox, who battled through an oblique injury earlier in his career.

Ortiz's advice? Same as the medical staff.

"He said the best thing for that is rest," Reyes said. "You don't want to do too much with it because then it's back to being injured."

Tatis has shoulder surgery

SAN FRANCISCO -- Utility man Fernando Tatis underwent potentially career-ending surgery Wednesday to repair the labrum in his right shoulder.

The Mets transferred Tatis from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list to make room for outfielder Carlos Beltran on their 40-man roster.

Tatis, 35, was hitting .185 with two home runs in 65 at-bats as the team's primary right-handed pinch-hitter and backup first baseman. A strong candidate for the 2008 National League Comeback Player of the Year award, Tatis originally separated his shoulder in September of that season. Opting for rehab over surgery at the time, Tatis has played in varying degrees of discomfort ever since.

Last month, the Mets finally placed him on the disabled list with a right shoulder AC joint sprain. Tatis is unlikely to return this season and, at 35 years old, may face an uphill climb to return at all.

Castillo could return in Los Angeles

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Mets expect injured second baseman Luis Castillo to return to the big club by next weekend.

Castillo, on the disabled list since June 4 with a bone bruise in his right heel, went 0-for-3 with a walk Thursday in his second rehab game for Class A St. Lucie, playing seven innings in the field. Barring setbacks, Castillo is on schedule to join the Mets next weekend in Los Angeles, the final stop on their three-city West Coast road trip.

"If he's going to play every day while we're on this trip," manager Jerry Manuel said, "I kind of expect to see him in L.A."

Worth noting

Right-handed reliever Sean Green (cracked rib) began a rehab assignment Thursday, pitching a scoreless inning for the Rookie-level Gulf Coast Mets. Green, on the disabled list since April 8, struck out one and walked one. ... Mets manager Jerry Manuel wants third catcher Josh Thole to take ground balls at first base in an attempt to improve his versatility and keep him on the big league roster as long as possible. Thole, who caught knuckleballer R.A. Dickey on Thursday, is not scheduled to catch again this series. ... Right-handed reliever Ryota Igarashi, who made his second appearance with Class A St. Lucie on Wednesday after being optioned there earlier this month, joined Triple-A Buffalo on Thursday. There, he reunited with Oliver Perez (right knee tendinitis), who is scheduled to make his fourth rehab start Saturday.