Mets designate Batista for assignment

The Mets have designated right-handed starter Miguel Batista for assignment, and called up righty reliever Elvin Ramirez from Triple-A Buffalo.

"Hopefully he clears [waivers] and decides to stay and goes down and pitches a little bit more," manager Terry Collins said Sunday before the Mets faced the Dodgers.

Batista, 41, is 1-3 with a 4.82 ERA this year. He last pitched Saturday, earning the loss against the Dodgers after surrendering four earned runs in three innings. He's appeared in 39 games for the Mets over the last two years, both as a starter and out of the bullpen.

"It was very tough," Collins said of the decision. "Miguel's done a great job here. He's a first-class guy and brings a lot to the party as far as his clubhouse presence, especially that Dominican presence with [Jordany] Valdespin and a couple young guys. He's been great helping those guys mature at this level and he's done a good job."

With Batista out of the fold, the Mets will now have to find a starter for Thursday's game in Arizona as Batista was lined up to pitch. While Collins would not divulge the candidates for that start, he acknowledged that top prospect Matt Harvey is being considered for the start. Harvey would be pitching on regular rest Thursday if the team promoted him.

Jeremy Hefner will pitch Wednesday afternoon against the Nationals.

"We're trying to get through the next couple of days due to what's happened the last two days and we've had to overuse [the bullpen]," Collins said. "We're going to continue to make sure we continue to have fresh arms down there. Thursday to me is a long way away right now."

Harvey, 23, struggled Saturday night against Charlotte by giving up six runs and seven hits in five innings. Collins said Triple-A Buffalo manager Wally Backman described Harvey's start Saturday as one where his head was in New York instead of Buffalo, as the youngster had been considered to start Saturday's game against the Dodgers instead of Batista.

Collins said one can't factor those performances into the equation when determining if Harvey will be the starter. Harvey's now 7-5 with a 3.68 ERA on the year.

"You got to throw those starts out. Part of the whole thing is being here in New York where everything is a story," Collins said. "The Matt Harveys become the story. He's not naive to know people are there, people are talking about it in Buffalo. You're the guy. You're going to be the next guy. He may be or he may not be. As a young guy trying to get to the big leagues you certainly understand why that focus is going in different directions right now."

The manager added that it doesn't matter to him whether Harvey would make his first start at home or on the road, but he did talk up pitching at Citi Field.

"What a great place to be a pitcher and come pitch here. It's a perfect pitcher's park. It's fair," Collins said. "Not a place where you hit the ball out of the ball park easily. It's a fair ball park. It doesn't matter to me. When the time comes, it will be because he's the guy."