Jerry Manuel said he isn’t worried about the standings just yet. Give him a couple months, though, and he’ll be checking box scores just like the rest of us. But for now, the Mets manager said he’s just happy to see his team is still playing well and over the .500- mark.

“I think what’s important is we play good baseball,” he said, when asked about his 12-9 Mets owning sole possession of the NL East. “It gives Mets’ fans hope this time of year. We struggled coming out of the gate and people begin to reflect on things that happened last year. But to play the way we have at home, I think is encouraging, obviously for the team but also for the fans.”

Manuel said he didn’t realize the Mets were ahead of the Phillies in the standings until someone informed him of the Phillies' 6-2 loss to San Francisco Tuesday night. That's probably because he's more concerned about the the Mets’ current six-game winning streak (the longest of the season).

The manager said the team's hot streak has undoubtedly given his players a much-needed confidence boost.

"I think because of the things that are surrounding our club coming off a tough year," he said. "We wanted to get out to a good start -- we didn't quite come out of the gate like we would have liked to. But i thought we played good ball and had a chance to win a lot of games. And to come back on our longest homestand and play the way we've been playing is encouraging."

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John Maine will make his first start since Thursday at Atlanta, when he left after pitching just 3.2 innings due to spasms in his left elbow. He allowed four hits and one run in his brief showing.

“I think the important thing right now is the health issue," Manuel said. "If he can get through the day without any setbacks, that would be very big for us. Very big for him. Hopefully he can do that and reestablish his fastball. I thought we were on our way with that and he had the setback in his last outing. I think it’s a big start for him as far as confidence. I’d like to see him get out there and have a good day today."

"Obviously you have to throw strikes," the manager said, when asked to explain what he'd like to see from Maine today. "And that the fastball has a little late life as it always has. Hopefully he can find a way to do that even in tough conditions."

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As for lefty reliever Hisanori Takahashi, who collected his second win of the season Tuesday night, Manuel said he likely won't be made available until Friday.