Jerry Manuel and Jose Reyes enter the All-Star break four...

Jerry Manuel and Jose Reyes enter the All-Star break four games behind the Braves and one game out of the wild card lead. Credit: Christopher Pasatieri

SAN FRANCISCO - It appears the waiting for Jose Reyes is almost over. The Mets expect to have their shortstop back in the lineup for tomorrow's game against the Diamondbacks.

Reyes took batting practice indoors Saturday from both sides of the plate and reported no problems with his right oblique. He also played catch and did some running, but because of the Giants' family day activities on the field, Reyes was unable to take ground balls.

Once that happens Sunday, it should be the last hurdle for Reyes to clear before playing in his first game since July 10, when he was removed after aggravating the strained oblique.

"For sure, for me right now, he'll start Monday," Jerry Manuel said. "We might just give him another day to recuperate from the work, the load that's been put on him, and for sure he'll lead off Monday."

Manuel raised the slight possibility that Reyes could even play Sunday, but he thought it would be a better idea to give him one more day.

Manuel went as far as to say that the discomfort in Reyes' right side is gone, but the shortstop didn't say those exact words when asked. "I feel good today," Reyes said. "Feeling better than Saturday. Probably I'll be in the lineup Monday."

Reyes was wrapped with a heating pad after batting practice, but he did seem much more upbeat than in recent days. "As soon as I woke up, I was moving around my room, see what happens, if I'm a little sore," Reyes said. "I feel good. That's a good sign."


Beltran stays in lineup

There was a possibility that Carlos Beltran would need a break after his first two games at the major-league level since Oct. 4, but Manuel put him back in the lineup and Beltran said he felt fine. Manuel does plan to sit him for today's series finale against the Giants, however, with Angel Pagan in centerfield and Jeff Francoeur in right.

Reyes needed nearly a month to get up to speed earlier this season, and Manuel was asked to compare Beltran's and Reyes' level of readiness when they returned. "Jose is hip-hop, Carlos is jazz," Manuel said, "and jazz fits baseball a little better than hip- hop. Hip-hop, you've got to slow down a little bit to get the rhythm. Jazz is, that bass guitar, you just pick that thing on the right time. That's the difference between the two. One guy is [fast-paced], the other guy is smooth."


Perez update

Oliver Perez allowed seven hits, including two homers, and three earned runs in 6 2/3 innings Saturday in his fifth rehab start for Triple-A Buffalo.