R.A. Dickey was not limping when he walked off the field after playing long toss Saturdayafternoon, and he was not kidding a while later when he said he still plans on pitching Tuesday, five days after suffering an injury that had looked serious.
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"I've been optimistic from the get-go," he said in the clubhouse after his workout.
But it is no sure thing that he will get going as quickly as he would like. Mets manager Terry Collins said it will depend on how well Dickey can move, especially going from the mound to cover first, before he clears the knuckleball pitcher to face the Pirates.
"He knows we need him, he knows he's going to help this club and he wants to be out there. But as we try to do in other cases, we've got to look at the big picture," Collins said.
Dickey, diagnosed with a partial tear of the plantar fascia on his right foot, will throw a bullpen session Sunday. Collins said the club probably will make a decision Monday about the Tuesday start.
The manager mentioned possibly bringing in "somebody who can come in and fill in for a day." That could mean Chris Schwinden, who has a 2.36 ERA in eight starts for Triple-A Buffalo. Schwinden was scheduled to pitch Friday night but that game was rained out and he did not start Saturday.
Dickey is determined to pitch soon. "I told [general manager Sandy Alderson] after the injury, 'Don't count me out,' '' he said. "I really felt confident in telling him that because I felt like it's something I can deal with. I'm definitely optimistic. I'm not going to handicap us. But if it doesn't affect my pitching, I want to go out there."
Evans starts at first
Nick Evans started at first base Saturday nightagainst Phillies lefthander Cole Hamels.
Collins said it was not a commentary on Daniel Murphy, whose miscue on a potential inning-ending grounder Friday night led to a winning three-run rally.
"Daniel Murphy is a true professional,'' Collins said. "This isn't going to bother him. He's going to play the game the way he always has: very aggressively. The ball slipped under his glove, he tried to make a big play, he didn't make it. "I had planned all along to try to get Nick Evans a game. With a lefty today, I thought this might be the time to get him in there."
When will Ike run?
Ike Davis returned to batting practice during his rehab in Port St. Lucie, which the Mets found encouraging. But Collins said: "I'll be more encouraged when I hear he has started running. That has got to be the next step. I don't even care if it's sideways." . . . Mets broadcaster Howie Rose exchanged texts Friday with former Rangers forward Stephane Matteau, marking the 17th anniversary of the latter's double-overtime goal against the Devils and the former's famous call, "Matteau! Matteau! Matteau!"