ARLINGTON -- Though Francisco Rodriguez spent much of Friday afternoon defending his comments in a recent published report, the Mets are hardly worried about their closer losing focus at a critical juncture of the season.
"I have no problems with Frankie having any distractions," manager Terry Collins said. "As I've said before, being in the position that he's at as a closer, those guys block out things. They're able to do it. It's a different mindset than other people."
Rodriguez said he was "irritated" by a Friday story in the New York Daily News that detailed his interest in becoming a setup man for Mariano Rivera with the Yankees, reiterating his preference to stay with the Mets.
"I did not read the story, but he told me about it," Collins said. "He did say he wanted to stay here."
Regardless, speculation will continue to swirl regarding Rodriguez, whose $17.5 million contract option for 2012 will vest if he finishes 55 games this season. Entering Friday's play, Rodriguez was on pace for 60 games finished, though any team looking to convert him into a setup man would have no trouble avoiding that option.
Capuano's turn could be skipped if needed
ARLINGTON -- Though the Mets won't know Chris Capuano's availability for certain until he attempts to throw a bullpen session later this weekend, they are prepared to push him back in the rotation if he continues to feel discomfort in the right side of his abdomen.
Leaving Thursday's game with a cramping sensation in his side after six shutout innings, Capuano is currently scheduled to make his next start Wednesday in Detroit. But with a scheduled off-day Monday, the Mets could push him back as far as Saturday without affecting the rest of the rotation.
"We could keep everybody else on schedule because of the off-day," Collins said, "and just move him back if we had to."
Currently, they are not committed to either option. But the Mets have reason to be cautious with Capuano given his recent success. After posting a 3-6 record and 5.19 ERA over his first dozen outings, the left-hander is 3-1 with a 1.08 mark in his last four starts, striking out 22 batters and walking seven.
Bay to hit cleanup against lefties
ARLINGTON -- Jason Bay has not exactly become a fixture in the middle of New York's lineup, but he will hit there on a more regular basis against left-handed pitchers.
Bay manned the cleanup spot Friday evening against left-handed Rangers starter Matt Harrison, and Mets manager Terry Collins indicated that he will hit fourth against most lefties going forward. Though he entered Friday's play batting just .230 on the season, Bay boasted an .801 OPS against left-handed pitchers, 246 points higher than his mark against righties.
"He's still a dangerous guy," Collins said. "He's still a threat. And they know it. I mean, everybody knows it. So you've got to pitch him carefully."
Reyes recalls MLB debut in Texas
ARLINGTON -- It was "a long time ago" in his own words, eight years ago in reality. But Jose Reyes can still recall most details of his Major League debut at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington in 2003.
"I went out to stretch and saw the stadium, and I said, 'Wow. This is amazing,'" Reyes said. "I had never had the opportunity to be in a big league stadium."
Perhaps his fondest memory from that day came after his second hit, a double in his third at-bat. After Reyes arrived at second base, then-Rangers shortstop Alex Rodriguez walked over to greet his counterpart, a well-known Dominican prospect, and wished him good luck.
"It meant a lot," Reyes said. "Alex is one of the best to ever play this game.
"Everybody is so crazy about Alex Rodriguez in the Dominican. I used to see him on TV all the time, and now I had an opportunity to be on the same field as him. It's something I'm going to never forget."
Former Mets pitcher John Maine has left the Rockies' Triple-A affiliate in Colorado Springs and is considering retiring, according to local reports. Maine's Mets tenure came to a rocky end last May, when then-manager Jerry Manuel removed him from a start after five pitches, and pitching coach Dan Warthen called Maine a "habitual liar" regarding his health. ... Against left-handed starting pitcher Matt Harrison, Scott Hairston started at designated hitter for the Mets in Friday night's game against the Rangers. Carlos Beltran is scheduled to start at DH on Sunday.