K-Rod's very early work, etc.

Francisco Rodriguez threw a bullpen session Wednesday, but is not scheduled to appear in any of the Mets' first three Grapefruit League games. When the closer finally does get in, Terry Collins said he may be used in the fourth inning or thereabouts, while the other team has some starting-caliber players still in the game.

“When the [uniform] numbers are still below 90," Collins said. "And I don’t think you need to keep the closer hanging around in a spring-training game. It could be four hours long. … When you’ve got a guy like that, I want to get him in and get him done.”

Other Collins tidbits after Wednesday's workout:

• Rule 5 pick Pedro Beato, the product of Brooklyn's Xaverian High School who was originally drafted by the Mets but did not sign, has impressed Collins. Like second baseman Brad Emaus with Toronto, Beato would have to be placed on waivers and then offered back to Baltimore if he does not stick on the major league roster the entire season.

“I’ve seen an outstanding arm, with a better breaking ball than I heard he had,” Collins said. “It comes out of his hand pretty easy. I can see why the reports are pretty glowing on him. You saw [Jenrry] Mejia last year. You saw what he did in spring training. He made this club. If this guy has a similar camp, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be in that mix.”

• Not only did Collins preside over the rundown drills in the morning, he acted as the runner in the jam.

“I’m fine,” Collins said. “I’ll be sore as hell tomorrow, I can tell you that. The best part is they did work. That might be the best I’ve ever seen a major league team do rundown drills effort-wise. But I’m losing a step every year. Next year I may need to beg out of it.”

• Collins also lauded Jason Isringhausen.

“His experience alone, you’ve got to put that in the [bullpen] mix," he said. "I saw him throw the other day. He’s still got the great curveball. And the more he gets out there, his velocity is going to get better. I saw the last pitch of his bullpen the other day was knee high on the outside corner. I’ll take that location a lot.”

Still, Bobby Parnell has been anointed the primary set-up man to K-Rod, and right now Izzy is just trying to make the team.

“Right now it’s Bobby’s,” Collins said about the eighth inning. “You never rule out Isringhausen with what he’s been doing. Once in a while things happen and guys beat out other guys. That’s the nature of our game.”