HOUSTON - Fernando Martinez was supposed to play most of the time in the Mets' outfield when he was called up from Triple-A Buffalo on Aug. 7. Like many things this season, that hasn't panned out.

Martinez was not in the lineup against righthander Brett Myers last night as manager Jerry Manuel played Angel Pagan and Jeff Francoeur in the corner outfield spots. Martinez pinch hit in the 11th inning and grounded out.

Martinez has started in five of the last 11 games. It doesn't seem to make much sense to keep the 21-year-old in the majors if he's not going to play regularly.

"There will probably be some discussions about that," Manuel said. "I have to find time to either play him or make a decision ."

Martinez is batting .167 with two RBIs. His lifetime average in 35 major-league games is .176.

Grievance lesson

Just how hard it is for teams to fire players for bad behavior? Consider the case of pitcher Shawn Chacon.

The former Yankee was released by Houston after he attacked general manager Ed Wade on June 25, 2008. The Astros refused to pay him the nearly $1 million left on his contract; the Players Association filed a grievance on his behalf, just as it has for Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez.

An arbitration panel ruled just this week that the Astros were entitled to release Chacon without pay. But the process took two years in what seems like a more cut-and-dried case than Rodriguez's.

"We're pleased with the ruling," Wade said. "It was an unfortunate incident, and we're glad to put it behind us."

Extra bases

Manuel said catcher Rod Barajas, out since July 25 with an oblique strain, would rejoin the club Thursday night . . . Thursday is Ron Darling's 50th birthday.

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