Castillo's return Sunday? Maybe. Or not.

Manager Jerry Manuel said he’s rethinking whether to put Luis Castillo in the lineup Sunday. Castillo, who did not start consecutive games because of a cranky right calf muscle, pinch-hit and singled through the right side of the infield in the eighth inning.

“I think he’s fine,” Manuel said. “But there’s a possibility I might give him another extra day just so he can have the day off.”

Said Castillo: “I’ll come tomorrow ready to play. If he has me in the lineup, I’ll play.”

JOLLY OLLIE: Oliver Perez allowed four runs on four hits and four walks while striking out six in 5 2/3 innings of Saturday’s 4-3 loss to the Washington Nationals. Willy Taveras produced a career-high four RBI -- on a two-run triple and two-run single -- at Perez’s expense.

“In the first AB I was supposed to go in and I missed the pitch,” Perez said. “The second AB, it was supposed to be a cutter in. That was a better pitch, but he made really good contact.”

Perez was making his first major-league start since failing to get out of the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies last Aug. 23. Nine days later he underwent surgery to clean out his right knee.

“I feel pretty good,” Perez said about the knee. “I think that’s very important for me to get to 100 pitches and don’t feel anything. That’s very important. But that’s a really tough loss for us.”

HOLD ‘EM: Jose Reyes led off the ninth inning with a single with the Mets trailing by a run, but Manuel didn’t feel comfortable asking him to steal second base because of his obvious rustiness. Instead, Alex Cora bunted Reyes to second base, expending an out. David Wright then walked. Jason Bay struck out. Jeff Francoeur also walked against closer Matt Capps to set up the decisive at-bat by Rod Barajas in which his liner was snared by left fielder Willie Harris.

“I’ve got to let Jose get back into the rhythm of the game and the speed of this game,” Manuel said. “That’s probably the reason that we didn’t want to go ahead and chance that. But once he’s playing, he has the freedom to take that base.”

PEN ON BALL: Ryota Igarashi, Pedro Feliciano and Jenrry Mejia combined to toss 3 1/3 scoreless relief innings.

“It’s a good indicator that if we can use different people -- the whole bullpen at different times -- we could possibly have a better bullpen than we thought we had when we left spring training,” Manuel said. “That’s a good sign for us. That means we can stay in games.”