LOS ANGELES -- Rookie third baseman Wilmer Flores was out of the starting lineup again Wednesday evening with a twisted right ankle, though the Mets' initial concerns that he may land on the disabled list have waned. After testing the ankle in an indoor batting cage Wednesday afternoon, Flores rapped out a pinch-hit single in the ninth inning against the Dodgers.
Mets manager Terry Collins expressed optimism earlier Wednesday that Flores can return to the starting lineup as soon as this weekend in San Diego.
"I don't know how long it's going to be," Collins said of Flores, who hit .259 with nine RBIs over the first seven games of his career. "If we're talking four or five days from now, then that's an issue. But if he recovers pretty fast, he should be able to play this weekend."
Calling Flores "marginally better" after twisting his ankle running the bases during Monday's loss to the Dodgers, Collins immediately removed him for a pinch-runner following his hit. The Mets planned to be "very careful having him run on" his ankle, according to Collins.
"I don't think it is anything that's going to be ultimately serious that he's going to miss a really extended period of time," the manager said, "unless we run him back out there too early and he twists it again."
Hefner placed on DL to rest injured elbow
LOS ANGELES -- A follow-up examination on Jeremy Hefner's right elbow Wednesday revealed that he has a partially torn MCL in the joint. The Mets placed Hefner on the disabled list retroactive to Saturday, reversing the Minor League option they used on him last weekend.
The injury, according to a team spokesman, is a "chronic condition," which manager Terry Collins said he has been aware of for approximately two months. Hefner should require nothing more than rest and rehab, and the Mets fully expect him to pitch again this season.
"Everything I've heard, there's a good possibility he'll be back," Collins said. "I think it's just some rest and some strengthening stuff, and he should be able to come back."
In the interim, the Mets will continue with a five-man rotation, making it more difficult for Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler to make it to the end of September given their innings limits. But the Mets knew they could not continue trotting out an injured Hefner, who posted a 9.13 ERA in five starts after the All-Star break, compared to a 1.76 ERA in his final eight starts leading up to it.
"This certainly had a lot to do with it, I don't think there's any question about that," Collins said of Hefner's injury and decline in performance. "I know he could pitch with it -- that's why he did. We just saw such a big difference that there had to be something, which we tried to address."
Still, because Hefner's examination revealed a relatively mild injury, the Mets are maintaining optimism about his future.
"I do know that there's a lot of guys who pitch with this," Collins said. "It's chronic. It's something that didn't just happen two weeks ago. He's had this and he's pitched with it and -- by the way -- he pitched pretty stinkin' good."
Mets to discount tickets based on strikeouts
LOS ANGELES -- The Mets on Wednesday announced a "Strikeouts for Savings" program that will calculate future ticket discounts based upon how many batters their pitchers strike out.
For every Padres batter a Mets pitcher fans during this weekend's four-game series in San Diego, the Mets will discount select tickets 1 percent for games Aug. 24-29 at Citi Field. For example, if Mets pitchers strike out a total of 25 batters this weekend, tickets will be discounted 25 percent in the baseline box, left field landing and promenade outfield sections.
Discounted tickets will go on sale one hour after the conclusion of Sunday's game at Mets.com/strikeout, using the promo code STRIKES.
• Though Terry Collins recently indicated that he had no plans to give Eric Young Jr. an off-day, the Mets' manager held his starting left fielder out of Wednesday's lineup. Young entered the day with 11 hits in his last 61 at-bats, good for a .180 batting average. Andrew Brown started in his place.
• As promised, Collins gave Ike Davis his first start against a left-handed pitcher Wednesday since being recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas last month. Davis, who owns a .150 average against lefties this season and a .222 mark against right-handers, started at first base.