TORONTO -- Though Miguel Batista arrived at Rogers Centre Sunday with his strained lower back muscle feeling markedly better, the Mets could ill afford a slow recovery from their 41-year-old pitcher. Needing bullpen depth more than rotation stability at this juncture of the season, the team placed Batista on the disabled list and recalled right-hander Chris Schwinden from Triple-A Buffalo.
"He was pitching great," manager Terry Collins said of Batista. "He said his back feels a lot better today and we understand that. But ... if we've got to pull him out of a game again in the second inning, we may not have the backup that's needed."
Batista left Saturday's game after two innings with a pulled muscle in his lower back. The right-hander classified it more as an oblique strain, unrelated to the groin injury he suffered last week.
In any case, it was not a particularly bad strain. But given the tattered state of their bullpen, the Mets were not willing to play short-handed even for a brief period of time.
"I feel great," Batista said. "Usually when you pull a muscle in your ribcage, you feel like you've been hit by a truck the next day. But I wasn't that sore."
Schwinden's stay on the roster should be temporary, with the Mets planning to recall a fifth bench player -- likely Vinny Rottino -- from Buffalo following Sunday's game. That means that Batista's rotation spot will go to Jeremy Hefner, who pitched five innings of two-run relief Saturday.
Hefner has allowed nothing more than those two runs over the first eight innings of his big league career, striking out five and walking one.
"I thought Jeremy was outstanding [Saturday]," Collins said. "I told him so. He really pitched great. We are going to see what he can do, whether we're looking forward to it or not."
Wright surpasses Reyes on Mets' hit list
TORONTO -- David Wright was still hoarse and achy Sunday morning, one day after the third baseman was unavailable due to illness. As usual, the sickness did not affect him. Wright talked his way into the lineup and reached base three times, passing Jose Reyes for second place on the franchise's all-time hits list.
"Obviously getting hits is a good thing," Wright said, laughing. "Hopefully, there's a lot more to come."
After doubling in the first inning and singling in the fifth, Wright now has 1,302 career hits, two more than Reyes. Ed Kranepool ranks first on the franchise list with 1,418 hits, a number that Wright could reach later this season.
The third baseman also walked and struck out twice in five plate appearances, upping his Major League-leading average and on-base percentage to .412 and .512, respectively.
Though the Mets had scheduled Wright's Saturday off-day in advance, the third baseman was so sick with a head cold that he was unavailable even as a pinch-hitter. But Wright reported to the ballpark in better health Sunday, and he was back in the lineup at third base.
"I feel a little bit better," Wright said. "My last few days were just fairly achy. Today, that's gone down a little bit. So hopefully it's a short flight tonight, I can get some rest and be ready for tomorrow."
Manager Terry Collins had considered using his third baseman at designated hitter, but Wright, who prefers playing the field, nixed that idea. Instead, Collins started Andres Torres at DH, preventing his center fielder from spending too much time on the Rogers Centre turf. Kirk Nieuwenhuis moved over to center field in place of Torres, with Mike Baxter starting in left.
Mets waiting for Ike to seize opportunities
TORONTO -- In the wake of Miami's demotion of former All-Star Gaby Sanchez, Mets manager Terry Collins was asked for the umpteenth time if he would consider optioning his own struggling first baseman, Ike Davis, to Triple-A Buffalo.
For the first time, Collins wavered.
"There is nothing etched in stone," the manager said Sunday morning. "We will never say something is not going to happen. What we're trying to do is make sure that we wring the rag dry. That's why, coming into this road trip, we said, 'Here are some pretty good opportunities.'"
In particular, Collins referenced the strong offensive environments in Toronto and Pittsburgh, as well as a run of four right-handed opposing starters in five games. If Davis cannot improve his .160 batting average, .220 on-base percentage or .298 slugging mark given those circumstances, the Mets may have no choice but to consider their alternatives.
Davis acknowledged that much Sunday morning, though he was unwilling to discuss hypothetical situations.
"I really can't answer questions about it until it happens, or until something happens," Davis said. "I'm not sent down yet, so I don't know what to tell you."
Mets manager Terry Collins reiterated that former top prospect Jenrry Mejia will likely work as a reliever when he returns from Tommy John surgery this summer. Mejia has made three rehab starts over two levels of the Minor Leagues, but is unlikely to join the Mets until he has transitioned to relief work and proven capable of pitching on back-to-back days.
Outfielder Jason Bay remains on track to ramp up his batting practice early next week in Pittsburgh. Bay, who has been on the disabled list since April 24 with a fractured left rib, has been hitting off a tee in Toronto.