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ATL@WSH: Batista hurls five shutout frames

The Mets intend to make the most of the expanding rosters on Thursday, starting 40-year-old Miguel Batista in the series finale against the Marlins at Citi Field.

It will be Batista's first start with the Mets after New York signed him to a Minor League deal in early July. He will start in place of Jon Niese, who is on the disabled list with a ribcage injury.

Batista, who was released by the Cardinals in June after posting a 4.60 ERA in 26 appearances (one start), will be playing for his 10th Major League franchise.

Mets manager Terry Collins explained that while the popular choice may have been to use a promising Minor Leaguer pitcher on Thursday, many have already exceeded their career highs in innings pitched.

"There's some guys that we have right now that I've got some concerns for next year that I've seen where the bouncing-back period is a little longer than you want it to be because you've overdone it this year," Collins said. "I don't want to take one of those young Minor League guys that may be a piece of the puzzle midsummer next year and not have their arms bounce back until May. We certainly are taking a look at that."

Clay Hensley, meanwhile, will start against the Mets for the third time this season.

After opening the year in the bullpen, Hensley moved into the rotation where he has made eight starts, the first of which came on July 18 against New York at Citi Field.

Hensley will close the Marlins' six-game road trip after starting it with a win against the Phillies, giving up three runs in 5 2/3 innings.

The right-hander notes that transitioning from a reliever mostly out of the stretch to a starter in the windup has been an adjustment.

"I'd be lying to you if I said it wasn't," Hensley said. "But at the same time, it's almost my June, because I missed so much time. I'm having to make the adjustment and make it quicker right now. We are running out of time. We have a handful starts left."

Marlins: Rare five-game set
Florida will play more games in this series at Citi Field than they have in the three previous trips to New York this season.

This marks the fifth time that the Marlins have played a five-game series.

In July 2006, the Marlins played the Phillies over five games. Florida went 5-15 in those previous four-game sets.

• Omar Infante has a 10-game hitting streak.

• Steve Cishek has allowed one run in his last eight appearances, pitching 9 2/3 innings with an 0.93 ERA.

Mets: Home sweet home?
New York will play 11 of its next 17 games at Citi Field.

The Mets are 4-1 during the six-game homestand.

On the season, the Mets have a winning record in just two homestands (minimum four games), including the current one.

Since the All-Star break, New York is 10-14 at home and 29-35 overall, fifth worst in the Majors.

• The Mets are one win shy of 3,800 wins.

• Lucas Duda has 10 RBIs over his last 10 games. Since the All-Star break, he is batting .328 (43-for-131).

Worth noting
• Batista last beat the Marlins on April 30, 2003, as a member of the D-backs. He pitched seven innings and allowed one run.

• Hensley has held Mets batters to a .163 average (7-for-43) this season. Comments