NEW YORK -- Since recalling catcher Josh Thole and sending reliever Raul Valdes down to Triple-A Buffalo on Thursday, the Mets have been one arm short in the bullpen.
The absence of Valdes means they have been carrying 11 pitchers instead of the traditional 12, something with which manager Jerry Manuel has no problem.
"Our only problem comes when we get people up in the fourth or fifth inning -- then we have an issue," Manuel said. "But as long as our guys get us to the fifth and sixth, the regular work our guys are getting down there is beneficial to them. I've always felt that if you have a good starting rotation, you only need 11 pitchers."
In case of an emergency or a few short starts in a row, Manuel can use knuckleball starter R.A. Dickey in the middle of his off-days between starts.
Dickey, who is scheduled to start Monday's game, said that the coaching staff approached him and told him he was available on Friday and Saturday.
Pagan set to return to starting lineup Monday
NEW YORK -- Jerry Manuel said that Angel Pagan, who hasn't played since Wednesday because of an injury to the side of his torso, will be back in the starting lineup on Monday.
Jesus Feliciano has filled in for Pagan both in center field and in the No. 2 spot in the batting order, but Pagan is available and ready to go.
Manuel said that he could be used in Sunday's game against the Twins if needed, but he wanted to be careful with his starting center fielder.
"He's ready to play in any pinch-hitting role or anything like that," Manuel said. "He'll play [Monday]."
In addition to being one of the best defensive center fielders in baseball this season, Pagan is hitting .349 with a .922 OPS since June 5.
Feliciano recorded three hits in his first start for Pagan on Thursday, but has gone hitless in six at-bats since then, though he did record two sacrifice bunts.
Beltran likely won't join Mets in Puerto Rico
NEW YORK -- Carlos Beltran, a Puerto Rico native, was hoping to complete his rehab in time to make the trip to San Juan with the Mets for their upcoming three-game series with the Marlins that starts Monday, but it looks like that is all but out of the question now.
"I wish it would've been maybe five or six days later, Puerto Rico, so he would get the chance to play in front of his family and friends, that would've been a possibility," manager Jerry Manuel said.
Manuel would like to get Beltran back with the Mets as soon as possible to get any transition period -- in which Beltran might not be as productive -- out of the way sooner rather than later.
In his most recent rehab start Saturday night, Beltran went 3-for-4 with two singles, a double, a run scored and two RBIs for St. Lucie against the Palm Beach Cardinals, playing seven innings in center field.
"I do not feel any pressure at all. I come in every day to work hard and play hard. I'm looking forward to rejoining the team," Beltran said. "I'm feeling better -- Game 3 of my rehab process and the knee feels good. When I'm playing, I'm playing the game right. I'm not thinking about my knee, I'm just reacting."
Kyle Maistri is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.