Torres avoiding DL; Edgin demoted

Terry Collins said he expects Andres Torres to be in a Grapefruit League game Tuesday against the Yankees in Port St. Lucie, signaling that the organization fully believes the center fielder will avoid the disabled list.

The Mets would not consider putting Torres in a major league exhibition game until they were confident he would be available for Opening Day, since using Torres against the Yankees would eliminate the potential for the Mets to backdate any DL stint into spring training.

Torres -- who suffered a strained left calf March 20 -- tried to steal three times Sunday while playing in a minor league intrasquad game, trying to impress upon the staff he was ready for major league action. Twice the ball was put in play; the other time Torres swiped third base.

"He wants to play -- bad," Collins said. "[Trainer] Ray [Ramirez] and I were standing there. And I told Ray, 'You can say what you want, but he's trying to show that he can play.'"

That means Vinny Rottino, who was the roster hedge for Torres, likely is headed to Triple-A Buffalo to open the season.

Meanwhile, after another solid Grapefruit League appearance Sunday against the Detroit Tigers, Josh Edgin packed his bags and planned to head for Binghamton, where he will serve as the Double-A team's closer.

Collins said Tim Byrdak, who is returning from March 13 surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee, may be ready by Opening Day. If not, the Mets will carry Daniel Herrera and Byrdak may only miss four games.

Edgin struck out three and allowed one hit while working 1 2/3 innings against Detroit. He allowed only one hit to a left-handed batter in Grapefruit League play, and overall has limited opponents to four hits in 10 1/3 scoreless innings.

The Mets selected Edgin Sunday as the top newcomer to camp -- an annual award.

"We'll see him, but Byrdak is so close," Collins said about Edgin. "In fact, Byrdak may even break with us. He had another good inning today. I told Josh today, we'll see him again. We'll see him real soon. He's got a good arm. Durable. A big, strong guy. He's got to make some better pitches once in a while. The stuff is very, very good -- 95 mph, a quick slider. He's just got to learn where to put the breaking ball. The kind of pitcher he is, and the way he pitches, he'll be back."