NEW YORK -- Oliver Perez may not have much of a chance to start on Saturday against the Phillies, but he also doesn't have much chance of being sent to the Minors.

Needing a Saturday starter to replace Hisanori Takahashi, the Mets have several options, such as giving Raul Valdes a spot start or promoting Pat Misch to the Majors. But if the Mets do dip into their farm system, they will need to demote someone on the current 25-man roster.

Perez, who in the past has exercised his right to refuse a Minor League assignment, is not an option.

"We've got a few different ways that we can go with that particular move," manager Jerry Manuel said. "Right now, Ollie has not been in the conversation about that at all."

Asked if Perez might be a candidate to start Saturday's game, Manuel replied, "Outside," indicating that he is not a leading option.

Most likely, if the Mets choose to recall Misch, they will be forced to option either Valdes or Manny Acosta to the Minors.

Perez, who has one more season remaining on his three-year, $36 million contract, has posted a 6.70 ERA this season and has not pitched since allowing the final four runs of a 14-1 loss to the D-backs earlier this month. But without his permission, the Mets cannot send him to the Minors. Their only option would be to cut him and absorb the remaining money on his contract.

After Perez refused a Minor League assignment earlier this season, the Mets placed him on the disabled list with tendinitis in his right knee. Including a lengthy Minor League rehab assignment, Perez was away from the team for nearly two months.

Barajas could begin rehab this week

NEW YORK -- Catcher Rod Barajas could begin a Minor League rehab assignment with Class A St. Lucie later this week.

Barajas, who has been on the disabled list since July 25 with a mild left oblique strain, is "ready to start catching," according to manager Jerry Manuel, adding that the Mets have "accelerated" his rehab.

The date for Barajas' first game is not yet set, but under MLB rules, he will have a maximum 20 days on Minor League assignment.

In Barajas' absence, Josh Thole has been starting regularly at catcher, and is batting .412 with two doubles over his last five games.

After streaking out to a .269 average and 11 home runs over the first two months of the season, Barajas hit just .168 with one homer in June and July before landing on the DL.

Outfielder Jason Bay, meanwhile, continues to rest after suffering a concussion on July 23. The Mets' medical staff will not clear him for activity until he is completely symptom-free.

Beltran returns to the lineup

NEW YORK -- After getting a day of rest on Tuesday, Carlos Beltran was back in the Mets' lineup on Wednesday, hitting fourth behind David Wright and in front of Mike Hessman.

Manager Jerry Manuel had entertained the idea of dropping the struggling center fielder in the order but ultimately decided to provide a sense of consistency for Beltran and protection for Wright.

"I think any time a guy comes off an injury and then struggles, there is some confidence that's shaken a bit, and my job is to encourage him that he can still do the things that he did before," Manuel said.

Beltran is hitting .195 with a .619 OPS in 91 plate appearances since returning from the disabled list after the All-Star break.

Both Beltran and Manuel say that there is nothing wrong with his surgically repaired right knee. He continues to wear a brace, which Beltran has said slightly limits his range of motion, but Manuel believes the struggles to be more mental.

With Jason Bay still inactive after suffering a concussion in Los Angeles, there has been no real reason to give Beltran a day off if he is physically able to play, and though his defense has been less than stellar since his return, Manuel has kept him in center field for presumably the same reason he has kept him in the middle of the order -- stability.

Hessman spells Davis at first base

NEW YORK -- Manager Jerry Manuel elected to stack his lineup with right-handed bats against Rockies left-hander Jeff Francis on Wednesday.

Henry Blanco and Jeff Francoeur were both in the starting lineup, with Mike Hessman spelling rookie Ike Davis at first base.

Davis has actually hit for a higher average (.276 vs. .243) against lefties this year, but Manuel saw the matchup as an opportunity to get Hessman, who hit fifth, involved.

"For the most part, he's had some good at-bats, and he's had a real good year for himself," Manuel said. "He's a guy, at least for this matchup tonight, that fits well."

Davis is hitting .304 in August but hasn't recorded an extra-base hit in the month's 23 at-bats.

Hessman, the Minor League's active leader in home runs, is slugging .438 for the Mets this season.