Mets get more encouraging news

NEW YORK -- All-Star center fielder Carlos Beltran shagged fly balls Monday for the first time since going on the disabled list with a bruised right knee, part of another encouraging day for the injury-riddled New York Mets.

Billy Wagner, out all season following elbow ligament replacement surgery, worked another perfect inning in his second minor league rehab appearance and first baseman Carlos Delgado took batting practice on the field for the first time since hip surgery.

Beltran said he fielded about 30 fly balls and the bone bruise on his knee bothered him twice, but with much less pain than before.

"I think it's progress because I didn't feel it all the time," he said "and I ran in the pool today, like six miles per hour, and I didn't feel anything. It's getting better little by little."

Beltran, who took early batting practice on the field Saturday, said his knee still needs to improve before he would feel comfortable playing the outfield. He was still sticking to his plan to be back in approximately two weeks.

"That's my plan," he said before the Mets lost 6-5 to the Arizona Diamondbacks. "That's my target and I'm doing everything possible for me to accomplish that."

Delgado had surgery on his right hip in mid-May. The slugger said he will probably run Tuesday but there is no timetable for his return.

"It's nice that you can hit and I'm not going to lie -- hitting is the most fun part of my day," he said. "But still there are other things that you've got to be able to do and you've got to do them well in order to come out and play every day."

The Mets activated Gary Sheffield off the DL on Sunday and the slugger went 1-for-4 with a double Monday night, his first start since his return. He had been sidelined since July 18 with a strained right hamstring.

In other news, New York called up right-hander Nelson Figueroa from Triple-A Buffalo to start the finale of the four-game series against Arizona. He lasted 1 2/3 innings, allowing six runs and a career-high 10 hits.

Figueroa was 3-3 with a 4.57 ERA in 16 games with the Mets last year, including six starts. To make room for him on the roster, New York optioned left-hander Pat Misch to Buffalo after Sunday's 5-2 loss.

The Mets also announced Monday that right-hander Elmer Dessens cleared waivers and was outrighted to Buffalo.