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Manuel praises speedy, 1-2 punch of Reyes, Pagan

New York Mets' Jose Reyes (7) congratulates teammate

New York Mets' Jose Reyes (7) congratulates teammate Angel Pagan (16) for hitting a two-run home run in the first inning against the Colorado Rockies. (Aug. 11, 2010) Credit: Christopher Pasatieri

Aside from winning, nothing seems to excite Jerry Manuel more than watching Jose Reyes and Angel Pagan at the top of the order.

Pagan's career-high 31 stolen bases and Reyes' 28 are the main reason the Mets lead the National League and are third in the majors with 112. Much of their effectiveness stems from Pagan's comfort level as an everyday player, Manuel. said

"I think Angel, if he's in the lineup every day, he feels good," Manuel said before last night's game against the Marlins. "He feels good no matter where he's hitting in the lineup. I think his objective issue was to play every day and prove to himself that he can play every day. "I don't think the lineup, where he fit in it, matters to him at this point.

"But I like the combination of him and Reyes at the top. If one guy gets out, then the next guy still feels like he can give me that instant run with the type of speed they both possess. They could become a tremendous 1-2 punch here for a period of time. It could be pretty exciting."

Don't be fooled

Seeing Jeff Francoeur fouling balls off and running up pitch counts should be a good thing, right? Wrong, Manuel said.

"They can be good if the pitches are borderline strikes that you're fouling off," he said of Francoeur's long at-bats.

"They can be bad if they're pitches that are right down the middle that you should be hitting, and you're fouling them off. So you can't just categorize it as a long at-bat and say that solves everything."

The rightfielder, who hit two sacrifice flies in Tuesday's win over the Marlins, was hitting .227 entering last night's game.

Extra bases

Triple-A Buffalo placed OF Fernando Martinez (right knee soreness) on the seven-day disabled list, retroactive to Monday . . . General manager Omar Minaya won't rule out the possibility that Jason Bay (concussion) could return this season, even though he has missed 24 games. "Until the doctors tell me what the situation is or when the doctors tell me where they are, I'll be able to give you a better idea," Minaya said before last night's game . . . Reliever Pedro Feliciano turned 34 Wednesday.

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