PHILADELPHIA -- Jenrry Mejia is a step closer to returning to the Majors.

The Mets on Thursday promoted the 20-year-old Mejia back to Double-A Binghamton after a brief stay with Class A St. Lucie. Mejia, who spent his time in St. Lucie recovering from a right rotator cuff strain, will start games for the B-Mets -- though he could rejoin the big club as a reliever if the Mets need bullpen help down the stretch.

In 30 relief appearances with the Mets earlier this season, Mejia posted a 3.25 ERA, striking out 17 batters and walking 15 in 27 2/3 innings. He is widely considered the organization's top starting pitching prospect.

The Mets on Thursday also promoted outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis from Binghamton to Triple-A Buffalo. Nieuwenhuis, 22, was batting .289 with 16 homers in 94 games for the B-Mets.

Minaya's job with Mets seems secure for '11

PHILADELPHIA -- Mets principal owner Fred Wilpon hinted Thursday that general manager Omar Minaya will remain with the team after this season.

Asked by a New York Port reporter if Minaya will retain his job next season, Wilpon quipped: "Is the sun going to come up tomorrow?"

Wilpon, whose son Jeff is more intimately involved in the team's day-to-day operations, made his comments while walking away from a group of reporters during a public appearance in Connecticut.

After receiving much of the credit for his team's 2006 playoff run, Minaya has since endured much of the blame for the Mets' inability to get back to the postseason. Many of his most recent free-agent signings -- most notably Jason Bay, Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo -- have yet to live up to their potential. The Mets began Thursday 7 1/2 games off the National League East lead and eight games out of the NL Wild Card, despite boasting the fifth-highest payroll ($136 million) in the Majors.

The Mets inked Minaya to a four-year extension after the 2008 season, and he has since made five major moves: signing Francisco Rodriguez to a three-year, $37 million deal; acquiring J.J. Putz from the Mariners in a 12-player swap; inking Perez to a three-year, $36 million contract; trading Ryan Church to the Braves for Jeff Francoeur; and signing Bay to a four-year, $66 million contract.

Minaya is under contract through the 2012 season at more than $1 million per year.

Extension for Mets' Reyes a possibility

PHILADELPHIA -- The Mets are reportedly open to negotiating a contract extension with shortstop Jose Reyes.

Citing an unnamed team source, the Daily News reported Thursday that the Mets are willing to negotiate a new contract in lieu of exercising Reyes' $11 million team option for 2011 -- but that they will not attempt to finalize anything during the season.

Reyes, who is in the final guaranteed season of his four-year, $23.25 million contract, is hitting .278 with seven home runs and 21 stolen bases in 93 games.