CLEVELAND -- When the Mets placed Luis Castillo on the 15-day disabled list with a right heel bruise earlier this month, manager Jerry Manuel said he hoped his second baseman would need no more than the 15 days to recover.

Now, the Mets concede that he will.

General manager Omar Minaya said Thursday that Castillo will not return when he is eligible to come off the disabled list this weekend, noting that his second baseman is "just not ready yet."

"We're not concerned -- not yet," Minaya said. "We're hoping that it's not going to be a long-term thing."

Castillo, on the disabled list since June 2 after enduring issues with both feet, has been working out in Port St. Lucie, Fla., hitting and taking ground balls, but otherwise staying off his feet as much as possible.

Rather than activate him this weekend, the Mets will continue to give Ruben Tejada the bulk of the starts at second base. Batting only .200 in 30 at-bats, the 20-year-old rookie has nonetheless impressed the Mets with his defensive prowess -- particularly his ability to pivot at second base, a position the natural shortstop only recently began learning to play.

"That's the one thing I thought that we'd miss with Luis is that turn," Manuel said, "We were just talking about that today, how impressed we had been with [Tejada] turning the double play. He's adapted extremely well."

Mets exercise caution with Bay's quad

CLEVELAND -- Jason Bay gave it the requisite try, but the Mets left fielder could not convince Jerry Manuel to let him back in the lineup Thursday.

Bay, who suffered a left quad contusion after colliding with Indians first baseman Andy Marte in Wednesday's game, felt nearly back to normal one day later. But the Mets, making a point to exercise caution with injuries this season, would not permit him to return.

"He fought pretty hard," Manuel said. "But we thought ... it might be best to make sure we get it cleared up before we put him back out there. He's available to play in an emergency."

Bay was also available to pinch-hit if needed.

"There's a little knot in there," he said. "If push comes to shove, I could easily play. They just decided to err on the side of caution."

Bay, who bumped into Marte and tumbled to the ground while legging out an infield single, entered Thursday's play batting .283 with four home runs. The Mets would do well to make sure he is healthy for this weekend's series against the Yankees. Finishing 7-for-10 with two home runs against them last month, Bay is a career .357 hitter against the Bombers.

"It made sense just to give it a day," he said of his quad. "It's a little tight, not life or death. Just give it one day and that was that."

Mejia feels better after two-walk outing

CLEVELAND -- Shortly after Jenrry Mejia entered Wednesday's game and walked the only two batters he faced, manager Jerry Manuel chalked it up to his infrequent use out of the bullpen.

The following afternoon, however, Manuel attributed Mejia's struggles to something different: a pounding headache. Mejia, Manuel said, had been feeling sick all day Wednesday.

Asked about the issue Thursday, Mejia admitted that he had not felt well, and that the issue affected his pitching. But Mejia said he felt markedly better Thursday, and was available out of the bullpen if needed.

Progressive mound poses problem for Mets

CLEVELAND -- After Jon Niese complained during Wednesday's game about a divot on the pitcher's mound, the Mets don't anticipate any further issues with the hill at Progressive Field.

Niese, who classified the problem as a "deep hole" right on his landing spot, requested that the Progressive Field grounds crew fill in the patch -- which they did. Niese was not alone in his dislike of the mound. Tuesday's starter, Johan Santana, also lodged a complaint, as did Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg.

But the Mets did not believe the mound would present a problem for R.A. Dickey, who does not typically dig large holes on the mound.

"It seems as though their pitchers, they're kind of used to it," manager Jerry Manuel said. "But none of our guys have liked it so far, I'll put it that way. So maybe there is something that needs to be addressed."

Worth noting

Carlos Beltran played five innings in center field Thursday in an extended Spring Training game in Port St. Lucie, Fla. He had nine plate appearances. ... The Mets signed two more Draft picks on Thursday: right-handers Akeel Morris, their 10th-round selection, and Steven Winnick, their 31st-round pick. The Mets have now inked 27 of their 49 Draft picks. ... Oliver Perez (right knee tendinitis) has been increasing his pitch count during bullpen sessions in Port St. Lucie, though there remains no timetable for his return. Perez is eligible to come off the disabled list on June 16.