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04/24/08 7:45 PM ET

Mets treading lightly with Sanchez

Reliever has looked superb, but team mindful of past injuries

WASHINGTON -- He's seemed nearly invincible in the early going, Duaner Sanchez has, but that's not to say he's back to where he once was. At least not yet.

"The more he's here and the more he keeps building, the better it's going to be for him," Mets manager Willie Randolph said. "It's been a long time since he's really been in this mix, so a lot of what he's going through right now is really just getting his feet back under him. Just because he might have three or four decent outings, you can't get too far ahead of yourself, thinking that he's back to where he was a year and a half ago."

Sanchez still hasn't allowed a run since returning from the disabled list, pitching his fifth scoreless inning of the season on Wednesday night. He has allowed two hits, striking out three and walking one -- not bad for a guy who, coming off two separate right shoulder surgeries and countless setbacks, hadn't previously pitched in a game since 2006.

Still, Randolph remains careful of exactly how and when he'll use Sanchez. Though he's been cleared to pitch on back-to-back days, Sanchez hasn't yet done so this season, instead falling into a schedule of playing every other day. How often he's used, according to Randolph, depends partly on pitch counts, but mostly on how Sanchez's arm feels.

"To me, it's just getting back into the rhythm," Randolph said. "He's just getting his feet wet, that's all. To me, it's way too early to start getting too gaga over what he's doing."

Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.