ATLANTA -- Terry Collins said Friday that despite his early growing pains, Brad Emaus is going to be given a "legitimate chance" to develop into the everyday second baseman. That was reinforced when Emaus was in Friday night's starting lineup against righthander Derek Lowe before the game was rained out.

"When Brad Emaus made this club, there were some things discussed, and one of them is to give him a legitimate chance," said Collins, who talked with GM Sandy Alderson Friday morning. "Putting him in and out of the lineup -- we're not going to get answers out of that, so I got him back in there."

The alternative is to play Daniel Murphy, who seems like a better option. But the Mets are not ready to cut ties with Emaus after selecting him in the Rule 5 draft, and a team official acknowledged that such players are given greater leeway because of their special roster status.

When asked to define "legitimate chance," Collins said he has a number of at-bats in mind, but he chose not to reveal it. As another team official explained, the trial period likely does not involve a particular time frame, just a feel for whether Emaus is capable of being a productive major-league player.

Said Collins, "I think it's a qualified number that we'll get a good idea of how he's going to do."

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Pelf seeks improvement

With Mike Pelfrey originally scheduled to pitch in front of a national audience Saturday on the Fox matinee, that meant part of his pregame prep involved meeting with the network's broadcast team Friday afternoon at his locker.

Recapping his season to this point is not exactly pleasant for Pelfrey, who has a 10.80 ERA in three starts. But after showing marginal improvement against the Rockies on Monday, when he allowed four runs (three earned) in 51/3 innings, he believes that his refocus on the fastball-splitter tandem will pull him out of his early rut.

"I think my fastball command is going to help," said Pelfrey, who now will face Jair Jurrjens in the second game of Saturday's doubleheader after Friday night's game was rained out. "I remember the times when I've been able to put the ball wherever I want, and I'll be able to do that again."

Pelfrey's struggles with fastball location led him to throw 113 pitches Monday, and he knows that can't continue. During his midweek side session, he worked on honing that pitch and his sinker, which has lacked its usual dive this season.

He still plans on picking his spots for the slider and curveball, too. And he hopes to have more success at Turner Field, a dangerous place to pitch up in the strike zone.

Extra bases

Jason Bay, on the DL with a left rib-cage strain, went 0-for-2 with a walk Friday and played leftfield for three innings in an extended spring game. He might try to play for Class A St. Lucie Saturday. He is not expected to come off the DL until April 26 at the earliest . . . Ronny Paulino, recovering from anemia, went 0-for-2 and was replaced in the fifth inning with St. Lucie. The Mets hope he will be back when his DL stint is up April 26.