MIAMI - Eric O'Flaherty's first day as a member of the Mets began with a 4 a.m. wake-up call at his home in Seattle.

It ended with another rude awakening, this across the country, when he was tagged for four runs in the ninth inning of the Mets' 8-6 win over the Marlins on Wednesday night.

"Not the start you're looking for," said O'Flaherty, who was acquired Tuesday night along with cash in a trade with the Athletics, for a player to be named later.

O'Flaherty, 30, will take on a role as the Mets' lefty specialist. But against the Marlins, he allowed four hits, three against lefties.

The Mets are hoping for results that more closely resemble what he had done against lefthanded batters before Wednesday night. Although he had a 5.91 ERA for the A's, he held lefties to a .186 average.

"I'm glad to be here man," O'Flaherty said. "Coming to a winner is nice."

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Six games remain between the Mets and Nationals. Mets manager Terry Collins hopes O'Flaherty can be a weapon against the likes of slugger Bryce Harper.

"It'll be big, really big," Collins said. "[Harper's] certainly the one guy where you've got to be careful . . . If he's going to beat you, he better beat you against a tough lefty."

The Mets received encouraging recent reports on O'Flaherty, whose best seasons were spent with the Braves.

"If he can get that back, he's outstanding," Collins said. "Because in Atlanta, it didn't matter if you were left [handed] or right [handed] or anything. He got you out."

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Michael Cuddyer might return in time for tomorrow's series opener against the Rays, though it likely will in a more diminished role.

"I have nothing etched in stone," Collins said.

Cuddyer, 36, was placed on the disabled list retroactive to July 22 with a bone bruise just beneath his left knee cap. He was slowed by the injury for nearly three weeks before he was put on the shelf.

But even when healthy, Cuddyer has scuffled after the Mets signed him to a two-year, $21- million contract.

In 82 games, mostly in leftfield, Cuddyer is hitting .250 with eight homers and 30 RBIs. He is in the middle of his least productive season since an injury-riddled campaign with the Twins in 2008.

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Collins indicated that the veteran could be relegated to a bench role upon his return.

"We're hoping that in two or three days we can get Michael Cuddyer back and that's just another pro with a big background sitting on your bench or playing some place," Collins said.

Cuddyer likely will wind up as the designated hitter when the Mets play a three-game series in an AL ballpark.

But he also could see some action in leftfield and first base, though Collins seemed hesitant to play Cuddyer in rightfield.

But he could also see some action in leftfield and first base, though Collins seemed hesitant to play Cuddyer in rightfield.