NEW YORK -- Jason Bay could return to the Mets as soon as Friday for their series against their crosstown rivals. The Interleague series at Yankee Stadium gives Mets manager Terry Collins the flexibility to play Bay at DH to ease him back into action.
Bay has yet to play a game in the field at Class A Port St. Lucie, but Collins expects him to start on Monday. The Mets' left fielder has been out since April 23 with a cracked rib. The initial timetable for his return was six weeks, and Monday marks the start of the sixth week.
"He played yesterday and got two hits today," Collins said Sunday. "We'll hopefully get him some more at-bats tomorrow."
Collins said he doesn't think Bay will need time at another level before returning to the big league club.
"I talked to him the other day, and he thought he's getting all the work he wants down there because of the facility," Collins said. "He can get a lot done in the morning. He actually gets a lot of swinging in and a lot of other things, defensive stuff. He just wants to stay down there. He said, 'Look, I can DH here, I can get all the at-bats I need.'"
Rotation hinges on Dickey, Santana bullpens
NEW YORK -- Manager Terry Collins has crafted his plan for the Mets' starting rotation this week, although the order is contingent on Johan Santana's and R.A. Dickey's bullpen sessions on Monday.
If all goes according to plan, Dillon Gee will pitch the series finale against the Cardinals on Monday, Chris Young will return from the disabled list to open the series with the Nationals on Tuesday, Dickey will move up a spot in the rotation to pitch Wednesday and Santana will close the series with Washington on Thursday.
Collins called Wednesday a question mark, but he hopes Dickey will feel well enough to pitch on four days' rest against Washington, which entering Sunday night was a half-game ahead of the Mets in the National League East. If Dickey can't pitch on Wednesday, rookie Jeremy Hefner will get the start.
"I'm going to wait to see [Dickey's] bullpen tomorrow," Collins said. "If he's a little rough, then we may back off that. Right now, he's for it. I talked to [pitching coach] Dan [Warthen] and [general manager] Sandy [Alderson] about it, and we have to go in there, and those are guys we've got to beat."
Collins wants to move Dickey ahead of Santana to ensure he'll pitch against Washington and to give his star left-hander an extra day of rest. Santana threw 134 pitches in his no-hitter against the Cardinals on Friday despite a rigid plan for a pitch count of around 100 pitches. The Mets continue to be careful with their ace as he returns from reconstructive shoulder surgery, but Collins said he felt he had to leave Santana in the game given the circumstances.
If Santana feels like he needs an extra day of rest after his bullpen session, Hefner will step in to pitch a game this week. Collins will have a much lower pitch count for Santana in his next start.
"I like that order, but a lot of it is going to depend on how Johan feels tomorrow," Collins said.
Miguel Batista will be activated off the disabled list on Tuesday and will be relegated to bullpen duties. He'll serve as a backup to Young.
Tejada may return to Mets on Friday
NEW YORK -- Ruben Tejada ran the bases on Sunday and will be sent to the Mets' Triple-A Buffalo affiliate to play in a rehab game on Monday. Manager Terry Collins said he hopes to have his starting shortstop back with the team on Friday.
Tejada has been rehabbing a strained right quad he sustained on May 6. He was hitting .305 with a .362 on base percentage before the injury.
Ramon Ramirez to undergo tests on Monday
NEW YORK -- Doctors will examine reliever Ramon Ramirez on Monday, and a decision will be made on his status after the tests. The Mets were expected to move Ramirez to the disabled list on Sunday, but manager Terry Collins said no move has been made yet.
Ramirez strained his right hamstring while running from the bullpen to the mound to celebrate Johan Santana's no-hitter on Friday.
Reliever Pedro Beato is eligible to return from the 60-day disabled list, but he will not be recalled until he makes a few more rehab starts. Collins said there is no room for him on the 40-man roster at this point.
"There's too many other things right now," Collins said of Beato's return. "He pitched very well yesterday. His velocity was better than it has been. I think his arm strength is coming back, but he needs a few more outings."
Ethan Asofsky is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.