DENVER -- Andres Torres will return from the disabled list Monday in Houston, leading off and starting in center field. Torres will bring a new dimension to New York's offense.

"The one thing we don't do is we don't steal bases," manager Terry Collins said. "He would bring that dimension, for sure."

Though the Mets will be careful not to disrupt their on-base percentage-oriented offense by running too often, Collins plans to give Torres the green light at all times. The outfielder swiped 19 bags in 25 attempts last season with the Giants, and holds a 74-percent success rate for his career.

Without him, the Mets entered Monday's play tied for last in the Majors with six steals.

As long as he reaches base with any sort of regularity, Torres should at least have plenty of opportunities to run. The Mets plan to slot him right back in the leadoff spot despite the success of rookie Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who will remain on the roster as a platoon left fielder, splitting time with Scott Hairston.

The Mets announced Sunday that they will option infielder Zach Lutz to Triple-A Buffalo prior to Monday's game to make room for Torres.

But there will still be opportunities for Nieuwenhuis, both atop the order and in center field. Because Torres has strained his left calf twice since mid-March, the Mets plan to be careful not to play him too frequently going forward.

"I'm going to be a little cautious in the beginning," Collins said. "The one thing I don't want to do is run him back on the DL after all of this."

Collins wavered only slightly after Sunday's game when asked about Nieuwenhuis, who made another sensational diving catch to rob Jonathan Herrera of a run-scoring extra-base hit in the fifth. Though both Torres and Nieuwenhuis are natural center fielders with little experience at other positions, Torres has had a longer, more established career in center.

And, as Collins quipped, "they hit fly balls to left, too."

Wright, Manning connect during BP at Coors

DENVER -- As new Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning was arriving at Coors Field Sunday morning to take in a game, he ran into Mets players David Wright and Jon Rauch. Only Manning did not realize it. Wright and Rauch were dressed in full Western and Mexican garb, with Wright sporting a sombrero, fake mustache and brightly-colored serape.

"It caught me off guard," Manning said. "I heard this guy say, 'David Wright.' I was like, 'That isn't David Wright.' He was in a full mustache, sombrero -- the full hat. It caught me off-guard."

An avid football fan and close friend of Manning's former Colts teammate, tight end Dallas Clark, Wright spent some time chatting with the quarterback Sunday during Rockies batting practice.

"It's going to be weird with him not on the Colts," said Wright, a Giants fan and fantasy football aficionado. "It's going to be strange."

While at Coors, Manning also made sure to snap a picture with Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey and Rockies first baseman Todd Helton, all of whom attended the University of Tennessee together in the mid-1990s.

"I love baseball," Manning said. "I grew up playing baseball. But since I got to college, I really haven't been in a Major League Baseball town anywhere I've been -- New Orleans, Knoxville, Indianapolis. So really, since I've been in pro ball, the Rockies have been the team that I've kept up with, the team that I checked the box score, checked to see how Todd is hitting. They're certainly my team now, for sure."

As for the Western- and Mexican-themed outfits, Mets personnel played dress-up Sunday as part of a player-initiated team-bonding exercise, with many of them making last-minute shopping trips in Denver over the weekend. The Mets held a similar dress-up day last year, and plan to wear hockey outfits when they travel to Toronto next month.

Davis hears call on popup at Coors this time

NEW YORK -- Ike Davis admitted to flashing back when Ramon Hernandez stepped to the plate in the 10th inning Sunday and, in his words, hit "one of the highest fly balls I think I've ever caught." The play was eerily similar to the one on which Davis suffered a bone bruise in his left ankle last May at Coors Field, knocking him out for the final four months of the season.

"Panic mode," was how Davis described the popup. "Your thought process, it's, 'Oh, here we go again.'"

This time, third baseman David Wright steered well clear of Davis, who caught Hernandez's popup on the infield grass. Davis had backed into Wright while catching a popup last May, in part because the first baseman did not hear anyone calling him off for the ball.

"I heard, 'Ike! Ike!' Which last year, I didn't hear," Davis said. "So that was comforting."

Though Davis could laugh about it Sunday, the injury he suffered at Coors Field last May not only ended his season, but put his entire career in jeopardy. Out with what the Mets initially called a sprained left ankle, Davis was extremely slow to heal, nearly undergoing microfracture surgery to repair what turned out to be a significant bone bruise.

Healthy now, Davis has yet to resemble his old self in 21 games this season -- though his game-winning single capped a three-hit day Sunday, bumping his average back up to .169.

"It's going to be a slow process," Davis said. "I'm not going to wake up tomorrow and be hitting .300. So it's going to take every game, grinding it out, and hopefully in a couple weeks, my average will be back to normal."

Teufel amazed by stamina of Rockies' Moyer

DENVER -- When Mets third-base coach Tim Teufel ran into Jamie Moyer in the Coors Field weight room earlier this weekend, his reaction was part shock, part awe. Teufel, after all, had been in the lineup when Moyer faced the Mets at Shea Stadium as a rookie in 1986, finishing his career 2-for-20 against the 49-year-old Rockies left-hander.

"It's not bizarre -- it's unique," Teufel said. "Here he is, decades apart. We got talking about the game itself."

Though Teufel is only four years older than Moyer, his own playing career ended in 1993, after 11 big league seasons. Not so for Moyer, who started Sunday against the Mets, recently becoming the oldest pitcher to win a Major League game.

"My body couldn't even come close," Teufel said with a laugh, when asked if he could still play today. "I get soreness just from doing what I do, never mind performing at a high level. It's amazing."

Even at age 49, Moyer had the Mets scheming Sunday morning, with manager Terry Collins and hitting coach Dave Hudgens trying to decide how best to attack the left-hander's low-velocity repertoire. Moyer is at his best when he is able to make hitters uncomfortable, luring them into chasing off-speed pitches that fade out of the strike zone.

"You've got to give Jamie Moyer some real credit," Collins said. "He's craftier than heck now. He uses the experience to his advantage."