CHICAGO -- The last Major League game Justin Hampson appeared in was in September 2008, for the Padres.

The left-handed pitcher joined the Mets from Triple-A Buffalo after Sunday's 6-5 loss to the Yankees, while Vinny Rottino was designated for assignment.

Hampson, a 32-year-old who's fought through shoulder surgery to return to the Majors, was 4-2 with two saves and a 2.13 ERA in 28 games at Buffalo.

"It's definitely a privilege to be here," Hampson said. "It's not given. It's something that can easily never happen again. You've got to take advantage of it.

"I'm very excited. It's been a long couple years coming back from surgery and continuing to play and hope for an opportunity and look for something to open up."

Mets manager Terry Collins said the addition of Hampson will allow him to use Tim Byrdak in key situations against left-handers, while Hampson can be used in the middle of the game to get out of jams.

"I'm sure, hopefully, he's excited to here," Collins said. "I'm sure he'll be a little nervous, but he's been on this stage before. He knows what he has to do."

Collins trusts Alderson to go after right players

CHICAGO -- Manager Terry Collins said he'll never go to general manager Sandy Alderson and ask him to obtain a specific player.

After losing two games in a row, Collins said Alderson approached him and told the Mets' manager that he'd provide the team with the best left-handed pitcher available, Justin Hampson from Triple-A.

"I've got guys in that clubhouse that I believe in and trust and think there's a place for each and every one of them," Collins said. "[Alderson] is well aware of what's going on here, he knows what our needs are, and either we have the ability to get him or we don't."

Collins said he used to ask general managers to get players and the asking price would usually be too high, which leads to disappointments.

"One of the things I've tried to do is not worry about that anymore, and worry about what I do have and how we can use that to be successful," Collins said.

With closer Frank Francisco sidelined with a left oblique strain, Collins has confidence reliever Bobby Parnell can do the job. He said Parnell is better suited to be a closer after the reliever blew multiple saves in early September last year.

"He had some ups and he had some downs and he's learned how to deal with them all, and he's come back better," Collins said. "This is his chance to show what he's learned."

Collins hopes to keep up energy after busy weekend

CHICAGO -- After a sweep of the Orioles and a tight series against the Yankees, manager Terry Collins is concerned about keeping the energy level up in the clubhouse.

Collins said the team sat 45 minutes at the airport late last night and got into Chicago past 4 a.m.

"I'm really concerned with tonight, because of the weekend series, all the hoopla, all the excitement, all the adrenaline and an absolutely brutal trip in here last night," he said. "Those guys are absolutely, I'm sure, out of gas. We're going to see if we can rise the energy a little bit."

The Mets currently sit 3 1/2 games back of the division-leading Nationals and will play the Cubs twice before the All-Star break.

"We are where we are, and I'm very happy with it," Collins said. "We are where we are because of the way we prepared. We aren't going to let yesterday's game or the chicken or anything else stay in the way of getting to play the next series. You can't do it. This is where you can have a real hiccup, and we're going to try to avoid that."

Worth noting

• Collins said outfielder Jason Bay will start exercise on a bicycle Monday and should resume baseball activities by the weekend.

• David Wright entered Monday night's game with a 14-game hitting streak, batting .370 over that span.

• R.A. Dickey had his stretch of 44 2/3 innings without allowing an earned run snapped Sunday.