VIERA, Fla. -- Mets backup catcher Ronny Paulino is grappling with stomach and colon issues and may spend time on the disabled list next month.
Though the Mets are awaiting followup test results on Paulino's blood work, initial diagnostics revealed the aforementioned stomach and colon issues. Paulino still has eight games remaining on the 50-game drug suspension he received last season, and general manager Sandy Alderson said it's "very possible" Paulino could hit the disabled list thereafter.
Initially, at least, the Mets will proceed with Mike Nickeas as Josh Thole's primary backup at catcher. If Paulino's issues keep him sidelined for a significant period of time, the team could eventually look outside the organization for catching help.
"We anticipated having Nickeas as our backup the first eight games, so we'll see how that goes," Alderson said. "Right now, we're not anxious about it."
Paulino, 29, signed a one-year, $1.3 million deal this winter to serve as a backup and possible right-handed platoon-mate for Thole. Reporting to camp nearly a month late due to visa issues in his native Dominican Republic, Paulino appeared in seven Grapefruit League games before team doctors found an irregularity in his blood work and shut him down indefinitely.
Beltran feels good after first start in right
VIERA, Fla. -- In five innings on Tuesday, Carlos Beltran made just one putout in right field. For most of the game, he barely had to move, later acknowledging that he's not yet accustomed to such a lack of outfield action.
Not that he'd have it any other way.
"Playing in the Minor Leagues is boring," Beltran said.
2010 Spring Training - New York Mets
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Sights & Sounds
Spring Training Info
Playing in the Major Leagues, not so much. To that end, Beltran appeared in his second big league game of the spring on Tuesday, playing five innings in right field and finishing 1-for-3 with a single.
"It felt real good," Beltran said. "I'm happy everything went well."
Sidelined first because of limitations with his surgically-repaired right knee, then due to tendinitis in his left knee, Beltran has appeared in only one other game this spring, starting at designated hitter against the Red Sox on March 6. Until Monday, many around the team harbored serious doubts that Beltran would be ready for Opening Day.
But Beltran's confidence has increased throughout the past week, leading the Mets to take a risk by using him in Tuesday's Grapefruit League game -- sacrificing roster flexibility in order to have Beltran face big league pitching. They are now convinced that Beltran is healthy enough to play, even if manager Terry Collins must give him frequent days off or use late-inning defensive replacements to begin the season.
Simply put, the Mets believe they are a stronger team with Beltran, even if he is not quite 100 percent.
"We're going to surprise people, that's for sure," Beltran said. "They're going to surprise us, too."
Boyer selected for bullpen; Izzy in limbo
VIERA, Fla. -- Weighing his skill set against the potential for injury, the Mets on Tuesday asked Jason Isringhausen to remain in extended spring camp at the start of the season. The team is still awaiting Isringhausen's decision, which may not come until Wednesday.
Regardless, right-hander Blaine Boyer made the team's bullpen over Isringhausen.
"There's always going to be some injury risk with Jason," general manager Sandy Alderson said.
Though Isringhausen and Boyer both thrived in Grapefruit League play, posting ERAs of 1.29 and 0.90, respectively, the Mets became convinced that Boyer's right arm could hold up better both in the short term and over a 162-game schedule. Sending Isringhausen to extended spring camp would also give the Mets another two weeks to evaluate him.
Since arriving in Florida for a tryout in February, Isringhausen has maintained that he would either retire or try to hook on with another team if he did not make the Mets -- and he still may pursue either option. But the Mets are hopeful that Isringhausen will instead accept their offer to remain in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
"If somebody came to us in a week and said, 'We've got a Major League spot for Izzy,' we'd let him obviously go if he wanted to do that," Alderson said. "It's very open-ended."
Now 38 years old, Isringhausen has not pitched in the big leagues since undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2009.
Boyer, 29, impressed the Mets this spring with his heavy low-90s sinker. Because he had a clause in his Minor League contract allowing him to sign elsewhere if he was not placed on the roster by Thursday, Alderson and manager Terry Collins spent much of last weekend openly discussing Boyer's options with him.
"The thing with Terry, what any player would really appreciate, is he's extremely open," Boyer said. "You're around some people who keep the door shut. His door's always open. He's just not keeping anything from you. He'll tell you what he knows, and from a player's standpoint, that's just very refreshing."
With Boyer's addition to the 25-man roster, the bullpen is now completely set. The Mets on Tuesday designated Manny Acosta for assignment and outrighted Pat Misch to Triple-A Buffalo under expectations that he will accept the voluntary assignment. That leaves Francisco Rodriguez, Bobby Parnell, D.J. Carrasco, Taylor Buchholz, Tim Byrdak and Pedro Beato in a seven-man bullpen.
"It's special," said Beato, who grew up in Woodside, N.Y., and whose status was not made official until Tuesday. "There's no other way to explain it. Growing up a Met fan, growing up around it, just to be home and playing for my home team is really exciting."
Excepting a potential disabled-list stay for outfielder Jason Bay, the rest of the roster also appears set. In addition to Willie Harris and Scott Hairston, Chin-lung Hu, Daniel Murphy and Mike Nickeas will round out the bench.
Mets swap reliever Kunz for slugger Dykstra
VIERA, Fla. -- The Mets acquired Minor League first baseman Allan Dykstra from the Padres in exchange for right-hander Eddie Kunz, the team announced Tuesday.
Dykstra, 23, hit .241 with 16 homers and 70 RBIs in 386 at-bats last season for Class A Lake Elsinore of the California League, striking out 122 times. He is not related to former Mets outfielder Lenny Dykstra, whose son Cutter was recently traded to the Nationals.
Kunz, 24, was the Mets' top pick in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft. He was billed at the time as their closer of the future. Though he cracked the Major Leagues the following season, Kunz has since seen his career falter. He was 7-8 with a 5.34 ERA in 42 appearances (including 12 starts) for Double-A Binghamton last year.
With the Mets skipping his first turn through the rotation, Chris Capuano anticipates being used primarily as a long reliever during Opening Weekend. If needed, however, he is willing to pitch for short stretches. "I don't need any special treatment in terms of time getting ready," Capuano said. ... R.A. Dickey threw six innings of three-run ball in a Minor League game on Tuesday, striking out seven and walking one. Dickey will start the third game of the season in Miami.