CINCINNATI -- The timing was tight, but the Mets managed to replace Carlos Beltran on their active roster in time for Thursday's game against the Reds.

Moments after making Beltran's trade to the Giants official, the Mets recalled catcher Mike Nickeas from Triple-A Buffalo, where he had been hitting .208 with two home runs in 49 games. But Nickeas may not be on the roster for long. Once recently designated utility man Nick Evans becomes eligible for a recall, the Mets may look to promote him back to the big leagues.

In the interim, at least, Nickeas will give the Mets depth at catcher, allowing manager Terry Collins to pinch-hit Ronny Paulino or Josh Thole earlier in games than he otherwise would have.

"It frees up those other two guys to hit," Collins said. "It certainly frees up Ronny to be used as a pinch-hitter instead of trying to wait until late in the game."

Making the Opening Day roster due to Paulino's performance-enhancing drug suspension and subsequent injury, Nickeas appeared in eight games in April, hitting .250 and displaying an aptitude at handling a pitching staff.

"I was more impressed with the way he called a game," Collins said. "He's got a real game plan. He really, really studied the opposition."

Davis' return this season appearing unlikely

CINCINNATI -- Though Mets first baseman Ike Davis continues to work out in Arizona, the Mets are beginning to concede that his return this season is unlikely.

Davis -- who has been on the disabled list since May with a bone bruise in his left ankle -- recently completed a running progression at less than full speed, jogging a 30-yard route 10 times. Though manager Terry Collins said there is "a glimmer" of hope that Davis could return this season, the Mets are preparing for the prospect of season-ending surgery.

"It's all about making sure he's ready for next year," Collins said.

If Davis is not ready to ramp up his rehabilitation in two weeks, the Mets will almost certainly shut him down so that he has enough time to recover from surgery before Spring Training.

"I just want to make sure that when we walk out there next February," Collins said, "Ike Davis is ready to go."