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03/20/08 10:52 PM ET

Delgado returns to Mets' lineup

Veteran Saenz assigned to Minor League camp

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Carlos Delgado's return to the lineup on Thursday night provided the Mets with a measure of relief. Barring further injury -- an omnipresent possibility around these parts -- Delgado should now be healthy enough to finish off the Grapefruit League schedule and open this season on the active roster.

Delgado singled and walked in three plate appearances on Thursday, playing first base for the first time since a broken bat struck his right forearm on Sunday. That incident opened a wound that required four stitches.

Now that Delgado has played, the Mets can feel more confident that he'll continue to play -- and perform. With that in mind, on Thursday they reassigned veteran first baseman Olmedo Saenz to Minor League camp, perhaps ending his stint with the organization.

Saenz, 37, hit .200 in 20 Grapefruit League at-bats. Known primarily for his ability to hit left-handers, Saenz appeared in 92 games with the Dodgers last season, mainly as a pinch-hitter. Once fellow bench players Marlon Anderson, Damion Easley and Ruben Gotay began to recover from their various injuries -- and once the team's corps of first basemen grew healthier -- Saenz became expendable.

If everything now falls how the Mets have envisioned, Delgado won't be missing much more time. But that's no guarantee. An impingement in his right hip sidelined Delgado for a period earlier this spring, and this latest injury kept him out of three straight Grapefruit League games.

For now, however, he and the Mets won't worry. Delgado's stitches are due to come out in about one week, and the wound hasn't caused him any pain.

"I feel totally normal," he said. "It never hurt. Go figure."

Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.