Fernando Nieve will start on Saturday

Mets manager Jerry Manuel confirmed before Thursday night's Mets-Phillies game that reliever Fernando Nieve will start on Saturday vs. the Milwaukee Brewers.

Nieve is tied with teammate Pedro Feliciano for the major-league lead in appearances so far this season, at 27. He is 1-2 with a 5.09 ERA over 23 innings.

In his career, Nieve has started 18 times in 86 appearances. He started 11 games with the Astros in his rookie year, 2006. And he started seven games for the Mets last season.

The Mets' starting rotation is clearly a work in process right now, after Oliver Perez was demoted to the bullpen and Jonathon Niese and John Maine both landed on the disabled list. Replacements Hisanori Takahashi and R.A. Dickey have shined in their recent starts. Nieve will get a chance to do the same on Saturday.

Manuel also confirmed that Niese would rejoin the starting rotation once he comes off the disabled list. And he acknowledged that a good performance by Nieve could garner him another start.

"There are always a lot of different possibilities," Manuel said. "If guys start and they do well, sure we'd like to give them the ball [again]."