David Wright might be back on the field soon. He also might go on the disabled list.
With the status of one of their best players still uncertain, the New York Mets look to continue their surprising start to 2012 by getting another win over the NL East rival Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday.
Wright has missed three games with a broken right pinkie, suffered in Monday's 4-3 win over Washington. The five-time All-Star third baseman has been cleared to play by a hand specialist, but his inability to grip a bat or ball could lead to a stint on the DL.
"It's not about me sucking it up and playing through pain," said Wright, who is 7 for 12 with a homer and four RBIs. "I functionally can't grip a bat or grip a baseball. This isn't banged-up. I take great pride in going out there and playing through pain. But this would be stupid. I would be hurting the team. It doesn't make sense.
"It's moving in the right direction, but it's a fractured bone. So it takes a little time. I wish it would go quicker."
The Mets (5-2) did just fine without Wright on Friday, as Jason Bay and Scott Hairston homered for the first time this season in a 5-2 win at Philadelphia to open this three-game set.
Ruben Tejada may be the most surprising contributor thus far for New York. The 22-year-old shortstop is 8 for 19 with five doubles and four runs scored over the last five games, including a leadoff double to spark a three-run first inning Friday.
The Mets will give the ball to Jonathon Niese, who had a successful season debut after signing a $25.5 million, five-year contract.
The left-hander carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning of Sunday's 7-5 victory over Atlanta. He allowed four runs - three earned - and two hits without recording an out in that frame, but still got credit for the win.
Niese is 0-3 with a 7.17 ERA in his last four starts at Philadelphia, including a 9-4 loss Aug. 23 in which he was tagged for eight runs and 10 hits - two homers - in four innings.
The Phillies (3-4) will try to get to Niese again after collecting 11 hits in the opener of this series, but going 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position.
Philadelphia shortstop Jimmy Rollins is 10 for 29 on the young season, and 8 for 17 over his last four games. He has three hits in each of his last three games versus New York.
Vance Worley will take the mound for the Phillies.
The right-hander was impressive Sunday at Pittsburgh, yielding one run over six innings and leaving with a three-run lead, but wound up without a decision after the bullpen squandered the lead en route to a 5-4 defeat.
Worley hasn't won in his last six appearances - four starts - going 0-2 with a 3.29 ERA since beating Atlanta on Sept. 6. However, he's 7-2 with a 2.33 ERA in 16 career appearances at Citizens Bank Park.
Worley won three of four starts versus the Mets last year with a 2.95 ERA. That includes two wins at Citizens Bank Park, where he limited New York to one run in 13 innings.
The Associated Press News Service
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