PHOENIX -- Terry Collins expects the Mets to return to a four-man bench on Sunday when Jonathon Niese is activated from the disabled list and the Mets return to a six-man rotation.
Collins suggested it would be difficult to go to a six-man bullpen, which would be the alternative, especially since it is unclear how deep Niese will be able to go in his first major league start since June 20.
Niese logged 80 pitches over five innings in his final rehab start, on Tuesday with Double-A Binghamton. Collins suggested Niese probably would go no more than 90 pitches in Sunday's series finale against the Arizona Diamondbacks, while Niese thought he could get to 100.
So who goes, assuming Collins is correct about a bench player needing to be shed to create the roster spot?
Wilmer Flores is the starting third baseman -- not even considered a bench player -- so that would not seem to make sense. And Anthony Recker is the backup catcher. Josh Satin is platooning with Ike Davis at first base. And Justin Turner is pretty much established and just contributed three RBIs on Friday night.
That leaves Andrew Brown and Mike Baxter remaining. Baxter is hitless in four at-bats since returning from Triple-A Las Vegas a week ago. Brown is hitting .179 (5-for-28) since July 8 and has started only two games during that month-long stretch.