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06/03/08 3:14 AM ET

Mets keep Pelfrey in rotation

Vargas shifts to long relief; Muniz sent down

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Mets were obligated to remove a player from the big league roster before their Tuesday night game here to accommodate Pedro Martinez, their scheduled starting pitcher for the second game of their series against the Giants. That player could have been Mike Pelfrey; it isn't. Willie Randolph said as much after the Mets game Monday night. The club decided to retain Pelfrey in the rotation -- that wasn't necessarily the plan until he pitched effectively Saturday -- shift Claudio Vargas to long relief and demote reliever Carlos Muniz.

The shift of Vargas came even before the Mets announced Pelfrey as the starter Thursday. Vargas was summoned in the first inning Monday night after Oliver Perez was battered -- he allowed six runs and retired one batter.

Pelfrey allowed seven hits, a walk and two runs in seven innings against the Dodgers on Saturday, his second encouraging start in four. The Mets are reluctant to interrupt his big league tenure at this point because he seemingly is making progress. And because the club is certain it would lose Vargas if it sought outright waivers on him, the idea of using him in long relief gained greater appeal.

The Mets have had no long reliever since May 22 when designated Jorge Sosa for assignment.

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