SAN FRANCISCO -- The New York Mets are down a key man in the heart of their batting order, and Carlos Delgado could be out for a prolonged period of time.
The slugger was placed on the 15-day disabled list Saturday with an impingement of his right hip, and Mets manager Jerry Manuel believes it could be a while before he's back.
"He never got away from being uncomfortable," Manuel said. "We felt it was time to make a decision and that was the decision we came to -- to go ahead and give it some time."
The move is retroactive to May 11, the first baseman's last game. Delgado left the team before Saturday's game against the San Francisco Giants and was to be re-evaluated early next week. It's unclear whether Delgado will opt to have surgery -- something Manuel said he will leave up to his star player and doctors to discuss.
Delgado is batting .298 with four homers and 23 RBIs in 26 games. He was batting .423 (11-for-26) over his previous seven games with seven runs scored, three doubles, a homer and seven RBIs. It became apparent in recent days that Delgado would need time to recover.
"Obviously Delgado is a very, very important part of what we do and we'll monitor what goes on and what happens with him," Manuel said. "For the most part, we have to try to get people we have here ready to go."
Manuel said he's counting on Gary Sheffield to contribute in the cleanup spot. That way the skipper can keep Carlos Beltran and David Wright in the third and fifth holes. Heading into Saturday, Sheffield was hitting .353 with a homer and three RBIs in his last seven games.
"That would be the biggest thing for us," Manuel said. "That way those guys can do what they do. We'll continue to play everybody. It's important that everybody plays. It gives us a lot of flexibility."
One of those players Manuel would like to have back in the mix is shortstop Jose Reyes.
Reyes was held out of the lineup for a third straight game during this four-game series at AT&T Park because of stiffness in his right calf. The Mets are in the midst of a 10-game road trip and Reyes' calf began bothering him after the cross-country flight to the West Coast.
Reyes, who is batting .286 with 15 RBIs and 11 stolen bases, could return as soon as Sunday night's series finale. New York stole 11 bases against the Giants in the first two games without Reyes, including a franchise-record seven Thursday night.
The Mets called up Angel Pagan from Triple-A Buffalo to take Delgado's spot on the roster.
Pagan had surgery March 11 to remove a bone spur from his right elbow, but showed the club he was ready to return with strong performances in three rehab games for Buffalo. The switch-hitting Pagan batted .286 with two triples, two RBIs and two runs during that stint.