SAN FRANCISCO -- Mets manager Jerry Manuel indicated Sunday that he may soon name Angel Pagan the starting right fielder over Jeff Francoeur. Achieving continuity within the offense is difficult to do, Manuel said, while rotating four outfielders among three spots.
With Jason Bay and Carlos Beltran entrenched in left and center field, respectively, a promotion for Pagan would push Francoeur into a reserve role.
"That's tough to do," Manuel said. "We might have to make a call on that. It might be unpopular, but it's something you have to do."
Since Beltran's return from the disabled list this week, Pagan and Francoeur have formed a right-field platoon. But Pagan entered Sunday's play batting .305 with six home runs and 20 steals; Francoeur was hitting just .249 overall and .135 in July.
Castillo's return will load up Mets' lineup
SAN FRANCISCO -- For the first time since April of last season, the Mets may have their lineup at full strength this week in Phoenix.
The Mets expect to activate Luis Castillo from the disabled list Monday and start him at second base, in a lineup that should include all eight of their regulars.
Castillo, who doubled, walked and scored two runs in his fourth rehab appearance for Class A St. Lucie on Saturday, is set to play his first big league game since landing on the disabled list with a bruised right heel on June 4.
"On-base is his big help," Mets manager Jerry Manuel said. "His ability to see a lot of pitches -- it's kind of something we've liked."
No longer in need of an emergency middle infielder, the Mets will likely option Justin Turner back to Triple-A Buffalo in order to make room for Castillo.
Joining Castillo in Monday's lineup should be Jose Reyes, who took batting practice Sunday but sat out his fifth straight game with a sore right oblique, and Carlos Beltran, who had a scheduled day off Sunday.
And so for the first time since April 13, 2009, Manuel should be able to pencil all eight of his first-string players into his starting lineup. Lengthy disabled-list stints for Beltran this year and Reyes last season have prevented the Mets from doing so over the last 15 months.
The Mets' last full-strength lineup included Daniel Murphy in left field, Carlos Delgado at first base, Ryan Church in right field and Brian Schneider at catcher. None of them are still with the team.
Wright OK after taking liner to knee
SAN FRANCISCO -- Third baseman David Wright was sporting a heavy wrap on his right knee following Sunday's 4-3 victory over the Giants, the result of Pat Burrell's liner in the sixth.
With no outs, Burrell lined a ball to the left side, where Wright twisted his body in an attempt to avoid it. The ball struck him just outside his right kneecap.
After a checkup on the field and a conversation with team athletic trainer Ray Ramirez, Wright remained in the game -- albeit with a limp. He expects to play Monday in Arizona.
"I didn't really see it too well off the bat," Wright said. "I was trying to get out of the way of it. It found me, and more than anything it's just kind of swollen and sore. But I should be good to go."
Perez still ticketed for Mets' bullpen
SAN FRANCISCO -- Oliver Perez is set to join the Mets soon. But despite Hisanori Takahashi's recent struggles, Perez almost certainly will not return to the rotation.
After Perez struck out seven in a rehab start for Triple-A Buffalo on Saturday and Takahashi was unable to escape the third inning in San Francisco, it seemed possible that Perez could rejoin the rotation in Takahashi's spot -- perhaps as soon as this week.
"I'm sure in the next day or so we'll continue to have conversations and try to find out what's the best fit for us and the best fit for him," manager Jerry Manuel said of Takahashi. "But as we sit here right now, he'll have his next start."
That means that when the Mets activate Perez from the disabled list -- they have until July 30 to do so -- they will use him as a lefty specialist out of the bullpen. Concerned by the fact that Perez continues to sit in the high 80s with his fastball, the Mets see Takahashi -- despite a 10.90 ERA over his last four starts -- as a better fit for the rotation.
"Are we down on Ollie? No, we just think Ollie needs to continue to try to get better, try to find himself, try to get back to where he was," Manuel said. "I think Ollie could be of value to us in the 'pen."
There are no guarantees, of course, that Perez can be successful in that role -- in four relief appearances prior to landing on the disabled list with right knee tendinitis, Perez produced an 8.44 ERA.
"You probably would like to see the velocity a little better," Manuel said. "But I think that as a reliever, he could offer us something."
Thole could be headed back to Minors
SAN FRANCISCO -- Carrying three catchers was a luxury that Mets manager Jerry Manuel clung to as long as he could.
He may not be able to enjoy it much longer.
Manuel indicated Sunday that the Mets plan to option third-string backstop Josh Thole to the Minors, likely after he catches knuckleballer R.A. Dickey on Tuesday.
"Josh definitely gives us some offense back there, but I think we have to be careful in creating a situation where there's not continuity in that position," Manuel said. "I like Josh in the fact that he comes off the bench and gives you a good at-bat, a quality at-bat. I like the fact that he has handled R.A. real well. But I'd have to sell that that's enough to keep him at this level. That might be a difficult thing."
In three weeks with the team, Thole has established himself as a viable pinch-hitter and a personal catcher for Dickey, batting .524 in 21 at-bats. But the Mets want Thole, a natural infielder, to continue to develop his skills behind the plate. Starting merely once or twice a week in the big leagues hinders him from doing so.
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.