PHOENIX - As Billy Wagner nears a return, possibly by this weekend, he better look both ways when crossing the street in Port St. Lucie. When it comes to rehabbing Mets, nothing has gone as planned this season, and every step forward usually results in two steps back.
That happened again Wednesday with Carlos Delgado, whose comeback from hip surgery will be further delayed by a strained right oblique muscle. Delgado had been progressing smoothly in his rehab, but returned from Port St. Lucie on Tuesday and was examined by team physician Struan Coleman.
Delgado is expected to need at least two weeks before he can resume baseball activity, and with only seven weeks left in the season, any return this year is now in serious jeopardy.
"[Coleman] said it wasn't a severe type of thing," assistant general manager John Ricco said. "It wasn't the type that was going to be a month."
As for Wagner, he survived his rehab appearance for the GCL Mets and pitched a scoreless fifth inning with two strikeouts. Ricco said that Wagner could be cleared for major league duty after his scheduled outing Friday - and maybe as early as Sunday at Citi Field. The Mets no longer feel the need to see back-to-back outings from Wagner, who is just under a year removed from Tommy John surgery.
Ricco said that the 30-day rehab window on Wagner doesn't close until Aug. 29.
Decision coming on Livan
Jerry Manuel said he would decide by Friday whether to keep Livan Hernandez in the rotation. Hernandez has lost six of his last eight decisions with a 7.02 ERA. He was pulled after four innings in Tuesday's 6-2 loss to the D-backs.
"Yeah, and I'm still sleeping on it," Manuel said. "I probably won't make that decision until Friday. Livan is a guy that, for me, I have the utmost respect for and he's a guy that's put a championship ring on my finger."