- Matt Ehalt, ESPN New York contributor
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Mets manager Terry Collins said he believes Jeremy Hefner will make another start as the team searches for stability in the rotation spot once filled by Mike Pelfrey. The team has turned to three different pitchers as it waits for Chris Young to return to the majors.
Hefner gave up six runs and nine hits Thursday night in his first start. He's scheduled to pitch Tuesday against Philadelphia.
The manager said a combination of Hefner pitching well at times and a desire not to mess with the roster have earned Hefner another start. Hefner is 0-2 with a 6.17 ERA in three games.
"We just figured to give him another shot because right now you have to start rearranging the roster again," Collins said. "You have to start taking guys off and each time you try and bring a guy up who's not on the roster you take a chance on losing somebody. We're trying to avoid that if we can."
After Hefner's next start, his spot in the rotation may go to veteran Miguel Batista. Collins said the team would "wait and see," but added that the hope is that Batista is "well enough," meaning he's back from the disabled list and feeling fine. Batista has been on the disabled list since May 20 with a lower back strain.
Several different pitchers have tried to fill the open spot in the rotation and struggled overall, failing to give the team length. The bullpen had to throw 5 1/3 innings in relief of Hefner Thursday night, and Collins said it's led to overworking his relievers.
"We're asking these (bullpen) guys to do stuff they're really not comfortable with. That's the nature of the game right now, when you've got to eat up some innings," Collins said. "We have to get that guy in that spot to give us more innings."
LINEUP: After Ronny Cedeno batted leadoff Thursday, the shortstop has been moved to the No. 7 hole Friday. Collins said it's due to a combination of the pitching matchup, as San Diego is tossing a righty, and this lineup's success last series against Pittsburgh.
TEJADA: Ruben Tejada's base-running session Friday was just "so-so", according to Collins. Tejada has been on the disabled list with a right quad strain since May 6.
"I wouldn't say it's a step back, it's just not a big step forward," Collins said.
Collins said Tejada is going to be brought along slowly and it may not take many rehab games for Tejada to return once the team is OK with how he's running.
CATCHING DUTY: Rob Johnson is behind the plate again Friday because Collins wants Mike Nickeas to catch Johan Santana on Saturday and R.A. Dickey on Sunday.
INJURY NOTES: Jason Bay (rib) will not play in a game until his rib is fully healed, but he has been swinging against live pitching. Catcher Josh Thole (concussion) will catch five innings Monday. Young will pitch Friday for Single-A St. Lucie.
RAMIREZ OK: Ramon Ramirez said he is fine after his right calf tightened up on him Thursday night against the Padres.