PITTSBURGH - To help sort through the logjam in the Mets' outfield, manager Terry Collins joked Thursday about getting some help from Pirates counterpart Clint Hurdle.

"I'm going to ask Clint before the game if I can use a rover," Collins said. "I'm not sure he'll accept it."

Now that centerfielder Juan Lagares is back, Collins must figure out how to split playing time among six outfielders, and he must do so with no special softball rules at his disposal.

Said Collins: "We're just going to rotate some guys in and out."

The Mets activated Lagares late Wednesday night after a three-week stint on the disabled list with a strained right intercostal. To make room on the roster, shortstop Wilmer Flores was demoted to Triple-A Las Vegas, where he will play every day after mostly coming off the bench.

Said Collins: "For him to be the kind of player we expect him to be, he's got to play, he's got to be in the lineup."

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The move leaves Ruben Tejada as the only shortstop on the roster. Eric Campbell will take on emergency duties, but Tejada is expected to play every game through the All-Star break.

Collins said the Mets never considered bringing up another middle infielder. The priority was generating more production out of the bench, even if it meant complicating the outfield situation.

For instance, outfielder Chris Young hit three homers in two games, yet found himself on the bench against Pirates righthander Vance Worley.


Extra bases

Dillon Gee (strained lat) will make his second rehab appearance on Sunday with Class A Brooklyn . . . First base coach Tom Goodwin will be away from the team indefinitely to deal with a family matter.