The Mets could have used Monday's upcoming day off to juggle the rotation and limit Chris Schwinden to one more start this season. But team brass has now resolved to give Schwinden a look to gauge his readiness for 2012. So Schwinden will pitch on turn and get two more starts this season -- at St. Louis, then during the final series at home against Cincinnati, according to Terry Collins.
Where does Schwinden fit into 2012's plans? He could have a Dillon Gee-type role.
Gee had a positive September 2010, leading him to be the primary safety net at Triple-A Buffalo this season. When the first pitcher stumbled, Chris Young due to injury, Gee returned to the majors.
"Don't know," Collins said about Schwinden's precise role next season. "Don't know what faces are going to be showing up in spring training. If we lose some people, then he'll certainly have a shot at it. If we get everybody healthy -- you get Johan (Santana) back and Jon Niese back -- and we re-sign some guys, the jobs are probably going to be filled. But this is a good chance to let him show what he can do."
Santana is under contract for two more guaranteed seasons. And although he will not appear in the majors this season, he is slated to pitch a simulated game on Sunday, then appear in the fall instructional league that is about to open.
R.A. Dickey is under contract for 2012 at $4.25 million, with a team option at $5 million for the following season or a $300,000 buyout.
Mike Pelfrey is arbitration-eligible off a $3.925 million salary this season.
Dillon Gee and Jon Niese do not have enough service time to be arbitation-eligible, so the Mets can set their salaries close to the major league minimum. Niese is on the DL with an oblique strain and will not return to the majors this season, Collins said, although the southpaw remains in Port St. Lucie for now.
Chris Capuano is a pending free agent.