Maine not headed to pen

John Maine is ticketed for the rotation, not the bullpen, when the right-hander is activated from the disabled list, manager Jerry Manuel indicated before the Mets opened a series against the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday.

Manuel suggested Maine would not be the right candidate to get up and down in a bullpen.

"I think that would probably be a little dangerous for us," Manuel said.

The expectation is Hisanori Takahashi will go to the bullpen when Maine returns. When will that be? Maine hoped Friday's rehab start with Buffalo would be his final minor league appearance, but Manuel won't rule out one more start beyond that -- depending on whether Maine goes over 100 pitches Friday with the Bisons.

SECOND THAT: While Alex Cora starts Tuesday, Manuel said he still believes Ruben Tejada will get the "bulk" of the time at the position, including the other two games of the Indians series. Manuel thought Cora was a better choice as a lefty hitter against Tuesday's starter, right-hander Justin Masterson.

CC: Chris Carter should start the next five games at DH, until the Mets face left-hander CC Sabathia on Sunday and Fernando Tatis gets a start. When the Mets return to National League play, Manuel indicated he would have to continue to find ways to keep Carter's bat in the lineup if his production continues. That could even include Jason Bay playing center field on occasion and Carter manning left field.

The defensively challenged Carter won't be at first base, though.

"Too close to the baseball," Manuel kidded.

CENTER ATTENTION: Carlos Beltran had five plate appearances in Port St. Lucie, Fla., and played two innings in the field in an intrasquad game.