CIN@NYM: Hawkins escapes bases-loaded jam in seventh

PITTSBURGH -- LaTroy Hawkins will not go on the disabled list before the All-Star break because there are just two days left before a four-day spell, Mets manager Terry Collins said Saturday.

Hawkins, 40, last pitched on Wednesday and has been dealing with a lingering right triceps issue likely stemming from the two innings he pitched on July 6 in Milwaukee, Collins said.

He was unavailable Friday, but said before the game Saturday he'd be able to give the Mets an inning if needed. The club used five relievers in a 3-2 loss to the Pirates in the series opener.

Mets activate Atchison from DL, option Valdespin

NYM@ATL: Atchison removed before throwing a pitch

PITTSBURGH -- The Mets activated reliever Scott Atchison from the disabled list and optioned utility man Jordany Valdespin to Triple-A Las Vegas after Saturday night's 4-2 loss to the Pirates.

Manager Terry Collins said his bullpen is "absolutely" gassed and wanted to get a fresh arm with the club for Sunday's series finale against the Pirates.

Atchison, 37, opened the season with New York, posting a 4.50 ERA in 19 appearances. He then went on the disabled list in mid-May with numbness in a finger stemming from a bone spur in his elbow.

He returned to the DL on June 19 after straining his groin during warmups and pitched a scoreless inning on a rehab assignment for Double-A Binghamton on Thursday. Sunday morning, he drove from Binghamton to Syracuse, then flew to LaGuardia Airport in New York, then to Pittsburgh. He arrived at PNC Park two hours before the game.

"It's good to be here," Atchison said. "Better than Binghamton."

Valdespin, hitless in his last 11 at-bats and 2-for-36 before the demotion, has a .188/.250/.316 slash line this season for the Mets. He hasn't started a game since June 22.

"It's hard for a young player who has pretty much spent his whole career as an everyday player to come up and play, maybe, once a week and then come off the bench and hit," Collins said. "It's very difficult. So he's got to go get some playing time. He's got to get his swing back. Certainly get back in the lineup. If he's going to come back, at least he's got to get some at-bats."

Valdespin has played all positions in the outfield, second base and shortstop this season for New York, and Collins said he'd like to see him do the same in Las Vegas.

Wright almost pitched in 2008 All-Star Game

NYM@PIT: Wright sticks with tough hop, turns in a gem

PITTSBURGH -- David Wright is thankful the marathon 2008 All-Star Game ended when it did. Had it gone past the 15th inning, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle -- then with the Rockies -- would have put Wright on the mound because he didn't have any relievers left.

"The game would have been over pretty quick if I got in," Wright said, laughing.

Wright didn't originally make the National League All-Star team that season, but got the call when Alfonso Soriano withdrew because of injury. The Mets' third baseman was in the game as a designated hitter in the 15th.

Brad Lidge, then with the Phillies, gave up a sacrifice fly to Michael Young in the bottom of the 15th, but Lidge would have thrown just that one inning had he kept the game tied.

Wright had never and still has not pitched in a Major League game. But Hurdle approached him in the 15th and said, "Have you ever pitched before?" Wright responded with a confused look, Hurdle recalled, but was the only real option because he was the DH. Wright said he would have done whatever he had to do.

"My safety may have been at risk," Wright said with a smile. "That's a lot of good hitting and some bad pitching."

Mets making a habit of playing extra-inning games

NYM@PIT: Mets lose on Mercer's walk-off single

PITTSBURGH -- Extra-inning games are a part of baseball, but that isn't making the Mets' time with them any easier.

New York has played 19 extra innings already this month, and 12 extra-inning games this season, tied for the fourth most in the National League entering Saturday. Five of those games have gone 13 frames or more, including a 20-inning marathon with Miami in early June.

"I'd rather not play any extra-inning games. I'd rather win in nine, or 8 1/2," third baseman David Wright said. "Extra innings every once in a while aren't that bad, but when you make a habit out of it like we do, on top of that, not just play 10 or 11, we have a tendency to play more than that. For sure, it catches up with you."

The Mets clawed back from a 2-0 deficit Friday night with a run in the sixth and seventh to force extra innings, but they used four pitchers in the ninth and eventually lost on a seeing-eye single in the 11th.

"Nobody plays more extra-inning games than us," manager Terry Collins said. "That tells you we're fighting and we're hanging in there and our pitching is keeping us in some games."

Worth noting

• Mets bullpen catcher Dave Racaniello will pitch to David Wright on Monday in the 2013 Chevrolet Home Run Derby, the third baseman said Saturday.

• Wright, the National League Derby captain, will compete in the event -- televised live on ESPN at 8 p.m. ET -- for the second time. He finished second to Ryan Howard in 2006 when Racaniello was supposed to throw to him, but couldn't because of back surgery. Paul Lo Duca took his place.

• Pirates All-Star Jeff Locke was scratched from his Sunday start with back tightness. Dillon Gee will instead face Pittsburgh's No. 1 prospect, Gerrit Cole, who is 4-2 with a 3.68 ERA this season.