NEW YORK -- Juan Lagares has emerged as a stud center fielder. He makes tough catches seem routine and his production at the plate continues to improve. Now that Matt den Dekker is with the Mets, though, Terry Collins has another center fielder he needs to give playing time.
Collins started den Dekker, 26, in center field for Thursday's series finale against Phillies right-handed starter Ethan Martin, giving Lagares a rest. It was den Dekker's Major League debut after the Mets selected his contract from Triple-A Las Vegas on Tuesday.
"I want him to play against a right-handed pitcher his first game," Collins said. "I thought today might be a good day. Juan's played every day for who knows how long. I thought it would be a good day to get him off."
Though he went 0-for-5 at the plate in Thursday's 11-3 win over the Phillies, den Dekker reached on a forceout in the seventh inning, stole second base and scored on Eric Young Jr.'s RBI triple.
After suffering a broken right wrist in Spring Training, den Dekker hit .296 with six home runs and 38 RBIs in 53 games with Las Vegas.
Collins said there will be times when den Dekker and Lagares are on the field together, with Lagares playing right field. That spot opened up when the Mets traded Marlon Byrd to Pittsburgh on Tuesday. The left-handed-hitting den Dekker could also platoon with Andrew Brown in right.
"But as we go down the road, I don't know how much you're going to see Matt against left-handed starting pitching, because that allows me to get Brown in, Lagares in the game at the same time," Collins said. "As we get in the last month, we'll see what's going to work out."
Collins said he also wants to see how den Dekker's plate discipline is, especially since he's had high strikeout numbers along with high home run totals. Collins said he was told den Dekker's worked on his two-strike approach, but he wants to see him apply it in the Major Leagues.
"I'm anxious to see how he handles everything up here," Collins said, "because obviously we know he can play defense and we're certainly anxious to see him out there in center field how he handles it."
Wright taking slow, steady rehab to Florida
NEW YORK -- David Wright wants to get back on the field as soon as possible, but he also knows he needs to take it slow. Wright's been on the disabled list since Aug. 3 with a strained right hamstring, but the third baseman and the Mets want to make sure he's completely healed before playing again so the injury doesn't become chronic.
The team's medical staff told Wright this is a six-week injury, though Wright said he's ahead of schedule.
"Obviously I want to finish the season, and I want to finish the season strong," Wright said. "The last thing I want to do is rush this thing back too early, hurt it again going into next season with the uncertainty of finishing a season and it become chronic."
Wright is heading down to Port St. Lucie, Fla., on Thursday to continue his rehab. He's been working out at Citi Field, fielding, hitting and running, though only at about 60 or 70 percent. Wright said he needs to build up to running at full speed, running the bases and stopping and starting.
But he said he isn't ready to play in any games.
"That's the most important thing, because I can simulate swinging and taking ground balls, but once you get in a game situation, it's a little different with starting, stopping, having to reverse directions -- things like that," Wright said. "That's what I need to get down before I get put in a game situation."
Wright also said he doesn't want to just shut it down for this year, partly because he wants to finish the season "strong and healthy" and not have his next time on the field come in Spring Training. Still, he said he'll be diligent with the recovery process.
Mets get prospect Black to complete Bucs trade
NEW YORK -- The Mets received on Thursday right-handed reliever Vic Black as the player to be named in their recent trade with the Pirates. The deal in its entirety is Marlon Byrd, John Buck and cash to the Pirates in exchange for Black and infield prospect Dilson Herrera.
Pittsburgh's 16th-ranked prospect, as ranked by MLB.com, Black had been pitching in the Minors after making his big league debut last month. He struck out 63 batters over 46 2/3 innings this season for Triple-A Indianapolis, also walking 21 with a 2.51 ERA.
A former supplemental-round Draft pick of the Pirates, Black, 25, holds a career 3.07 ERA in the Minors.
Because Black has 72 hours to report to his new organization, the Mets will place him directly on their big league roster once it expands on Sept. 1.
Byrd hit a three-run homer Wednesday evening in his first game with the Pirates, adding to the career-high 21 he launched in 117 games with the Mets.
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. Chris Iseman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.