PHOENIX - Add Anderson Hernandez to this final two-month evaluation process. The Mets re-acquired Hernandez from the Nationals last Thursday and Jerry Manuel has not wasted any time getting him in the lineup on a regular basis.
That's partly because of the injury to Luis Castillo, who missed three games with an ankle sprain, and the need to give Alex Cora a breather. But the Mets also want to see what they have in Hernandez moving forward and into 2010.
Hernandez made his second start at shortstop on Sunday, but he'll see time at second base as well, even as a defensive replacement when Fernando Tatis starts at second.
"We'll try to see how he responds to that type of play," Manuel said. "Stretch his versatility out, get a good read on that before the end of the season."
Hernandez, who was batting .251 for the Nats, had two hits from the No. 8 spot in Sunday's 5-1 win over the Padres. The Mets traded him to Washington on Aug. 20 last season to complete the deal for Luis Ayala after Hernandez showed that he was pretty much all-glove, no-hit. He batted .152 with a .164 on-base percentage in 25 games in his longest stint with the Mets in 2006.
Billy Wagner pitched another scoreless inning for Class A St. Lucie, needing 14 pitches. He allowed one hit and struck out one. Wagner must log a few back-to-back outings before returning to the Mets, but he's not scheduled to pitch again until tomorrow. There is a chance he could throw on consecutive days later this week, and the tentative date for him rejoining the Mets is around Aug. 20.