HOUSTON -- After two days (and one game) off because of a sore back, David Wright felt refreshed and was back in the Mets' lineup against the Astros on Friday night.

Wright sounded like a man who expects to not be 100-percent healthy for a while. But he's not using it as an excuse and doesn't want any more days off.

"It has nothing to do with getting hits or not getting hits," he said. "It just has to do with just hopefully, you're talking about playing a whole season. Getting two days off kind of knocks a little bit of that soreness out . . . It's nice to go out there and feel as close to healthy as you can be."

Said manager Terry Collins: "We really felt the two days where he could get some therapy and get some rest would help. I asked him how he felt and he said he felt better . . . He's a gamer and he's going to go out there. Had I given him another day off, there would have been a fight on my hands, I'm sure."

Besides the rest, Wright felt better because the Mets won without him Thursday. Willie Harris started at third base, reached base four times and scored three runs in a 9-5 win over the Rockies.

"I'm glad we won and I'm glad I got the 21/2 days where I feel pretty good out there today," Wright said. "I think that obviously, hopefully almost 21/2 days of doing nothing kind of gives you a little bit of a physical break and also a little bit of a mental break where you can kind of not only take the day off physically but take the day off mentally and just kind of look forward to getting back going and hopefully kicking off a little hot streak."

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Wright went into Friday night's series opener at Minute Maid Park batting .234 with five home runs and 16 RBIs. He grounded into a 6-4-3 double play in his first trip to the plate against righthander Bud Norris, walked in his second and struck out in his third.

He also sprinted to the railing of the third-base dugout while chasing a pop-up in the third inning and stretched way out to try and catch it, although the ball glanced off his glove for a no-play.

"I feel better physically," Wright said. "I feel pretty fresh, which after two days [off] should do that. So hopefully, that translates into going out there and playing a little better."

Along with Harris, Carlos Beltran helped fill in for Wright on Thursday. Batting in Wright's No. 3 spot in the order, Beltran had three home runs and six RBIs.

Collins moved Beltran back to the cleanup spot Friday and hoped it would have a positive impact on Wright.

"I'm expecting David to get some pretty good pitches to hit because this guy might be red-hot," Collins said. "They know it. They read the papers."

Collins also would like Jason Bay to get hot and provide some protection for Beltran, especially with Ike Davis on the disabled list with a left ankle sprain and bone bruise. Bay went into Friday batting .215 with one home run and five RBIs.

"If [Beltran] is red-hot like he was [Thursday], if he continues to swing the bat like that, he's going to get pitched around," Collins said. "That's just the nature of the beast up here."