MIAMI -- With Mets catcher John Buck preparing to take paternity leave in the coming days, top hitting prospect Travis d'Arnaud is a candidate to make his Major League debut on a temporary basis.
Buck may miss up to three days to be with his wife, whose estimated due date is Thursday. To replace him, manager Terry Collins said "there's a chance" the Mets could tab d'Arnaud -- ranked third on the Mets' Top Prospects list -- who recently advanced to Double-A Binghamton in his rehab from a broken left foot.
But Collins was unwilling to commit to that, citing Triple-A Las Vegas catchers Juan Centeno and Francisco Pena as alternative options. d'Arnaud, who has been on the Triple-A DL since breaking his foot in April, will be up in September regardless of what happens with Buck.
Mets trying not to shut down Harvey, Wheeler
MIAMI -- Though the Mets' six-man starting rotation will help extend Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler into September despite strict innings limits, the Mets continue to discuss other ways to keep those two pitchers active -- including possibly using Wheeler in relief.
"It's nothing that we're settled on, but we're just saying, 'Hey look, how can we get these guys through the year without having to shut them down completely?'" manager Terry Collins said, estimating that Wheeler has fewer than 10 starts remaining before he hits his limit. "One of them would be to save some of the innings and just say, 'You know what? The last two weeks of the season, you're going to pitch out of the 'pen.'"
Collins said he did not like the potential message that would be sent by limiting Wheeler in individual starts, reasoning, "What if he's throwing a no-hitter?"
But he also understands the need to prevent Wheeler -- and, to a similar extent, Harvey -- from throwing far more innings than ever before in his life. If that means a few games in the bullpen as opposed to the rotation, the Mets may be willing to do it.
"Is it etched in stone? The answer is no," Collins said. "I don't know what's going to happen. Over the next three weeks, there are a lot of things that can happen. We're just trying to figure out, how can we save innings and get these guys through it?"
Wright tweaks hammy, expects to play Thursday
MIAMI -- Despite tweaking his right hamstring in the eighth inning of Wednesday's loss to the Marlins, David Wright declared himself "fine" and expects to play Thursday.
"You go through things during the season, and you either play through it or you can't," Wright said late Wednesday evening, feigning ignorance of the injury when first approached by reporters. "I can play through this, so I'll be in there tomorrow."
Singling and stealing second base with one out in the eighth, Wright grabbed the back of his right leg upon arriving safely at the bag. Manager Terry Collins admitted afterward that Wright has been dealing with some discomfort since last weekend in Washington; Collins gave Wright a routine day off Sunday, which in retrospect may not have been so routine.
But Wright has since manned third base for all 28 innings of the Mets' series in Miami, going 5-for-14 over the three games.
"Like I said, you've got to know what your body can take," Wright said. "I feel like I can take it. It's just something that I'll play through it. It's one or the other. You either need to not play or play, and I feel like I can play through this."
Two of the Mets' four bench players, Justin Turner and Josh Satin, have experience at third base should Wright's injury linger.
Parnell rests Wednesday after heavy workload
MIAMI -- Mets closer Bobby Parnell was unavailable Wednesday after pitching in three consecutive games, saving two of them but throwing 55 pitches in the process.
The hiatus gave manager Terry Collins a chance to reflect on just how valuable Parnell has been since taking over the closer's role from injured incumbent Frank Francisco. After struggling during ninth-inning stints in years past, Parnell has converted 22 of his 26 save opportunities this season with a 2.16 ERA and nearly four times as many strikeouts as walks.
"Bobby grabbed the opportunity and ran with it," Collins said. "I just think that over the last couple years, he's matured on the mound, his demeanor on the mound. His confidence in his stuff has changed. Right now, even though he can throw 100 [mph] if he needs to, he pretty much pitches at 94, 93, 95, and he tries to make pitches. And I think that's what's made a big difference for him."
For those reasons, general manager Sandy Alderson said he never really entertained offers for Parnell prior to Wednesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline, despite the closer's high value for any contender.
"We spent the last two-years-plus looking for a closer," Alderson said. "It looks like we've found one, so why would we trade him immediately?"