Mets' Santana avoids fine

NEW YORK -- Mets manager Jerry Manuel has no plans to discipline Johan Santana for ignoring a bunt sign.

Santana's decision helped New York beat the Philadelphia Phillies 6-5 on Tuesday night. Rather than try to sacrifice on an 0-2 count in the sixth inning, as he was instructed to do, the pitcher faked a bunt, swung away and hit a tying double to right field for his fifth career RBI.

Asked on Wednesday if he had any plans to fine Santana, Manuel said: "No, not at all. He's playing baseball. As long as he plays baseball, I'm fine with that."

Manuel also had no problem with the way his ace reacted on the mound when the manager removed him in the eighth inning after 91 pitches. Santana, who had just allowed his fourth home run of the game, held up the ball as Manuel approached and appeared to speak sternly to the skipper.

"He was just saying, you know, 'I'm a man, I'm a man.' And that's what he says in the clubhouse all the time," Manuel said. "I can say this: It was definitely not a plea to remain in the game. Definitely not. Not at all."

Manuel doesn't think Santana was showing him up, either.

"No, no. I don't have a problem with that," the manager said.

After the game Tuesday night, Santana gave his explanation of the exchange.

"I just told him that, 'I feel good,'" Santana said. "I'm [not] trying to show anybody up or anything. I just felt that I had enough stuff to battle through it. But he thought different. He's my skipper and I respect everything that he does."

Mets reliever J.J. Putz was back in the clubhouse Wednesday, one day after he had surgery to remove a bone spur and fragments of bone from his pitching elbow. He is expected to start throwing in about six weeks and New York hopes the right-hander can return to games in 10 to 12 weeks.

Putz, who had his right arm in a sling, said he watched Tuesday night's game from his couch and feels much better than he thought he would following surgery.

He said he can already straighten his arm out more than he could before the operation.

"It's a big relief," Putz said. "Trying to pitch where I knew it wouldn't hurt probably affected my stuff."

A former All-Star closer, Putz was acquired in the offseason from Seattle to be Francisco Rodriguez's set-up man. He was put on the 15-day disabled list Friday after going 1-4 with a 5.22 ERA and two saves.

Putz said his doctor told him the injury probably affected his performance "a lot."

Putz was aware of the bone spur when he was still in Seattle, but his doctor there told him he didn't think the spur would need to be removed. Still, Putz said he has no plans at this point to contact that doctor and inquire about the original prognosis.

Also, the Mets acquired outfielder Chip Ambres from the Boston Red Sox and announced outfielder Emil Brown cleared waivers and accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A Buffalo.

Ambres, who was with Boston's Triple-A Pawtucket affiliate, also was assigned to Buffalo.

Brown was designated for assignment by the Mets on Sunday, when right fielder Ryan Church was activated from the disabled list.