NEW YORK -- The Mets recalled right-hander Jeremy Hefner from Triple-A Buffalo on Saturday to take Johan Santana's spot on the roster and provide depth to the bullpen. But it is unclear how long he will remain.
New York now has two holes in its rotation following injuries to Santana and Dillon Gee, once again creating the possibility that top prospect Matt Harvey could make his Major League debut. Miguel Batista took Gee's place in the rotation on Saturday against the Dodgers, but the Mets had yet to decide how to fill Santana's spot. They are unsure whether Batista is a long-term solution, especially after the 41-year-old allowed four runs in three innings in a 8-5 loss to the Dodgers.
"Certainly [Harvey] will be a possibility," said general manager Sandy Alderson, "but we'll look at the other options and make a decision in the next couple of days."
Hefner is in the bullpen for now, and he allowed two runs in two innings against Los Angeles in his third stint with the big league club this season.
He and Harvey are the likely options to take Santana's spot in the rotation, with Alderson saying any promotion for prospect Jeurys Familia would likely be to aid in his development, rather than to fill an immediate need for the organization.
Hefner appeared in 12 games this season for New York, with the first two coming out of the bullpen before he made three starts. The 26-year-old went 1-2, allowing 12 earned runs in 15 2/3 innings before returning to the bullpen, where he allowed nine runs in 16 2/3 innings over nine total appearances, including Saturday's.
He allowed five runs in 15 2/3 innings over three starts since returning to Buffalo, most recently throwing seven innings of one-run ball.
Harvey is 7-4 with a 3.34 ERA in 19 starts for Buffalo this season. He allowed two runs in 6 2/3 innings, walking four and striking out four in his only start since throwing two hitless innings in the Triple-A All-Star Game. The 23-year-old right-hander was scheduled to start on Saturday night against Charlotte.
"We needed to get somebody here for [Saturday]," Collins said. "Jeremy's here, and we'll certainly address that when the game is over, because there has to be another move that is made [for the rotation]."
Alderson: Mets should be Trade Deadline buyers
NEW YORK -- The Mets do not have to do anything in their next 10 games to convince general manager Sandy Alderson that he should be a buyer at the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. Injuries to starters Johan Santana and Dillon Gee haven't changed Alderson's mindset that the Mets are still in the race for a National League playoff spot, but poor results will.
"It's not a question of what we need to see on the field to make us buyers, it's what we see on the field that causes us not to be buyers," Alderson said. "The presumption here is that we're buyers, and it has been. Realistically, the next seven, eight, 10 games become important for us."
The Mets have a well-documented need for bullpen help, as they entered Saturday's game against the Dodgers at Citi Field with a 4.95 bullpen ERA, the worst mark in the NL. But holes in the rotation are now equally as glaring, and Alderson is unsure of how he will fill them.
He has internal options -- Jeremy Hefner, Matt Harvey and Jeurys Familia -- and does not expect the injury to Santana to alter his Trade Deadline strategy.
"This, in and of itself, doesn't change our approach," Alderson said. "I think the results on the field will dictate that. This will have an impact on us every five days, no question about that."
One pitch mars Dickey's relief outing
NEW YORK -- The energy at Citi Field reached its peak in the ninth inning on Saturday after the Mets cut their deficit to one run and the season's feel-good story, R.A. Dickey, recorded two outs on four pitches in his first relief appearance.
But just as quickly as it rose, the excitement disappeared. Juan Uribe followed James Loney's bloop single with a two-run homer that put the finishing touches on an 8-5 loss and sent many of the 33,503 in attendance toward the exits.
Dickey called the home run pitch the only bad knuckleball he threw in his inning of work, which took the place of his scheduled bullpen session after New York starters lasted only three innings in each of the past two games. Dickey will make his scheduled start on Tuesday against the Nationals, according to manager Terry Collins.
Collins planned all along to use Dickey in a late-game situation.
"I salute him for going in there," Collins said. "It's certainly something he's not used to doing. But that's the kind of guy he is, 'If you need me, I'll be there for you.'"
Dickey has 98 career relief appearances to his name, mostly from his time in Texas, Seattle and Minnesota, where he bounced between the rotation and bullpen. But in three seasons since emerging as a reliable knuckleballer in New York's rotation, he has three appearances out of the bullpen. He previously threw two scoreless frames.
Alderson said there is no timetable for Mike Baxter's return from a displaced right collarbone, which he suffered crashing into the left-field wall making a catch to preserve Johan Santana's June 1 no-hitter. The outfielder is making rehab appearances for Class A Advanced St. Lucie as a designated hitter, but has yet to start throwing. He is "a ways off," according to Alderson.
ESPN selected the Mets' August 12 matchup with the Braves at Citi Field for its Sunday Night Baseball telecast, and the game will now take place at 8:05 p.m. ET.
The Mets announced that the team will recall RHP Elvin Ramirez from Triple-A Buffalo before Sunday's series finale against the Dodgers. A corresponding move will not be announced until Sunday morning.
Ramirez, who made five relief appearances with New York in June, boasts a 1.99 ERA in 29 Minor League games this season.
Steven Miller is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.