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Ruben Tejada could be back in Mets lineup Friday night

The Mets' Ruben Tejada holds his arm up

The Mets' Ruben Tejada holds his arm up after he was hit by a pitch thrown by Seattle Mariners' Erasmo Ramirez in the fifth inning of a game on Tuesday, July 22, 2014, in Seattle. Photo Credit: AP

MILWAUKEE - Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada has seen a replay of the pitch that cracked his batting helmet on Wednesday afternoon. He has since heard the sickening crunch of the ball that left him face down in the dirt.

"It scared me," Tejada said Thursday, one day after he was plunked in the head by Taijuan Walker. "I don't ever want to see anybody in that situation."

As a precautionary measure, the Mets sat Tejada for Thursday night's series opener against the Brewers in favor of Wilmer Flores, who was recalled earlier in the day. But manager Terry Collins said Tejada is expected back for Friday night's game.

"I don't think it's anything to worry about right now," Collins said.

Despite taking a 94-mph fastball to the helmet, Tejada said he experienced no concussion symptoms, and declared himself ready to start again when called upon.

"I'm ready to play," Tejada said.

Flores was in the starting lineup in the seventh spot Thursday night, when the Mets opened a four-game set against the Brewers. But with Tejada seemingly in the clear, the Mets find themselves in a similar spot.

Flores, 22, already had been mired on the Mets' bench this season. But his inactivity prompted a demotion to Triple-A Las Vegas, where he received regular playing time.

Since June 26, when he returned to Las Vegas, Flores has hit .340/.374/.642 with eight homers and 32 RBIs in 26 games. He also had a 22-game hitting streak. Now, he'll be used off the bench.

"Playing every day, being out there every day, it's so much easier," Flores said.

Aside from starting Thursday, Flores said he hasn't been told how he will be used.

"I just have to find a way," Flores said. "If I'm playing every day? Good. If I'm not, I'm just going to get used to it and try to find a way to be ready for any situation."

Collins said Flores' latest tour with the Mets is expected to last more than just a few days.

"It's going to be more than that," he said. "We're going to try to work him into the lineup as best we can and make sure he gets some at-bats, maybe split some time with Ruben, maybe give Dan [Murphy] a day off here and there, maybe have him play third base once in a while. So we'll try to move him around."

Since June 26, Tejada is hitting .236/.382/.264. Collins considers him the starter unlike the last time Flores was on the roster, when Tejada had to win back playing time with a hot streak.

"Ruben's played a lot better than the last time," Collins said. "He's done a nice job of handling the bat. I go back to the last homestand. This guy got as big a hit as anybody did for us [a walk-off single against the Braves on July 7]. He's playing well defensively. Had he not got hit in the head, I'm not sure we'd be talking about this today."

With the Mets playing well before last night's 9-1 loss -- entering last night, their 11 wins in July were tied for second most in the National League -- Collins said he wants to avoid a disruption in the lineup.

"We're playing pretty good and I'm trying to keep things from being disruptive as much as I can because I like the way things are going right now," he said before the game. "The clubhouse is in pretty good shape as far as their mental approach."

To make room for Flores, the Mets optioned Kirk Nieuwenhuis to Las Vegas, leaving the team with five outfielders. Since he was promoted on June 19, Nieuwenhuis was hitting .256/.348/.538.

"You reach a situation where there's only certain guys you can move," Collins said. "He was aware of that."


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