PHILADELPHIA -- Mets prospects Fernando Martinez and Ruben Tejada were scratched from Triple-A Buffalo's lineup on Friday, roughly five minutes prior to first pitch, but the organization was mum on any activity regarding the two players.

"I'm not going to comment on that," general manager Omar Minaya said after the Mets' 7-5 loss to the Phillies. "I have nothing to say about that right now."

There was no indication of any injury to either player, meaning the Mets most logically scratched Martinez and Tejada for one of two purposes -- a pending promotion to the big club, or a pending waiver deal.

Martinez, one of the organization's top outfield prospects for most of the past half-decade, was batting .255 with 12 homers in 68 games for the Bisons. Tejada, who spent significant time with the Mets earlier this season, was hitting .280 in 65 Triple-A games.

Getting Mets on track Minaya's priority

PHILADELPHIA -- Omar Minaya heard the rumblings and the rumors, heard the criticisms, heard Mets owner Fred Wilpon hint that the general manager's job is safe even beyond this season.

How much truth there is that particular statement remains unclear -- Wilpon's comments came in passing at a business function in Connecticut. Regardless, all Minaya can do right now is work to improve.

"The fact of the matter is that I have a contract beyond this year, two years beyond this," Minaya said. "It's nothing new. I'll continue to work hard and continue to do this job to the best of my ability."

Minaya's comments came one day after Wilpon, when asked if Minaya would remain GM of the Mets after this season, reportedly quipped: "Will the sun come up tomorrow?"

Indeed, the sun did rise, illuminating the fact that the Mets entered Friday's play at .500, a season-high eight games out of first place and trailing five different teams in the NL Wild Card standings. Receiving little production from Minaya's one notable offseason free-agent acquisition, Jason Bay, and even less from his previous big signing, Oliver Perez, the Mets are rapidly falling out of the playoff hunt.

Though he has found some unexpected help in the form of R.A. Dickey, Elmer Dessens and others, Minaya acknowledged on Friday that much of the blame for the Mets' recent struggles should rightfully land on his shoulders.

"When the team goes well, I always say the players are the ones that should get the credit," Minaya said. "When the team is not playing well, as a general manager, you've got to take responsibility."

Scuffling Pelfrey may be skipped

PHILADELPHIA -- Needing to win with ever-increasing urgency, the Mets are considering skipping Mike Pelfrey's next turn in the rotation.

"Yeah, sure," manager Jerry Manuel said when asked if he might pass over the struggling right-hander. "It's always a possibility."

Manuel did not discuss the matter with his staff on Thursday, using the off-day to play golf and clear his mind from baseball. But the Mets must make a decision regarding their rotation soon, and Pelfrey has hardly given them reason for confidence in recent weeks.

Allowing five runs over 4 2/3 innings on Wednesday in Atlanta, Pelfrey was unable to complete six innings for the seventh straight start and unable to complete five for the fourth time during that span. His next turn in the rotation would come either on Tuesday or Wednesday at home against the Rockies. But the Mets could potentially replace Pelfrey with Hisanori Takahashi or even Minor Leaguer Pat Misch, who would be on turn.

"The day off [Monday] gives you a lot of different choices," Manuel said.

Mets won't rush Bay back from concussion

PHILADELPHIA -- Disabled Mets outfielder Jason Bay continues to feel symptoms of the concussion he suffered last month and is not close to participating in baseball activities.

According to Mets manager Jerry Manuel, Bay reported symptoms as recently as Thursday. The team's medical staff will not clear him to return to action until he is completely symptom-free for a period of time.

"That's in the hands of our doctors," general manager Omar Minaya said. "Each case is different."

Bay, who has been on the disabled list since July 26 after crashing into the outfield wall at Dodger Stadium three days earlier, was batting .259 with six home runs before the injury.

Mets remain optimistic to sign top pick

PHILADELPHIA -- As the Mets anticipated when they drafted Matt Harvey seventh overall in the First-Year Player Draft back in June, the club does not expect to sign its top pick until close to the Aug. 16 deadline.

Though the Mets remain confident that they will be able to lock up their highest selection since they drafted Philip Humber third overall in 2004, a team official said he did not expect the club to ink Harvey until the moments leading up to the deadline -- common practice for Draft picks in general, and especially for clients of agent Scott Boras.

Harvey, a Boras client, went 8-3 with a 3.09 ERA this season for the University of North Carolina, striking out 102 batters in 96 innings.

When allowing runners, Niese holds them

PHILADELPHIA -- Jon Niese has impressed the Mets all season with his stuff and poise as a 23-year-old rookie.

He seems to be impressing opposing baserunners as well.

Entering his Friday start against the Phillies, Niese was the only qualified big league pitcher without a stolen base against him this season. Opponents had attempted only four steals on Niese all season, and were unsuccessful all four times.

"He's a hard guy to read," Mets catcher Josh Thole said. "If you watch a lot of the baserunners, the first thing they do is go back to the base."

Over 27 career starts spanning parts of three seasons, Niese has allowed merely one stolen base, to Pirates outfielder Nyjer Morgan last May.