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Dickey strikes out six in seven solid frames

Off-the-field distractions have dominated headlines in the Big Apple this season, but Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey, who will start the series opener against the Nationals on Friday in Washington, said none of that has anything to do with what the team does on the field or how players interact with each other in the clubhouse.

"The uncertainty that rests is not with the people in here. It's with the overall direction of the club from a corporate standpoint," Dickey said. "The game doesn't change, that's the beauty of baseball. It's still 60 feet, six inches to the mound. It's still 90 feet to the bases.

"You still have to execute what you're trying to do as a team to win the game. ... What's happening in the peripheries, it doesn't matter. And that's kind of our mentality."

Dickey hasn't seemed distracted on the mound. He threw five straight quality outings without a win before finally earning a victory his last time out with seven scoreless innings against the Marlins.

The right-hander will be pitching on three days' rest on Friday, which has typically spelled trouble in his career. Dickey is 1-3 with a 7.52 ERA over five starts on three days' rest.

Ross Detwiler will get the start for a Nationals team that is coming off a series loss to the Braves. Since making his first Major League start of the season on July 5, the 25-year-old right-hander has been a steady force in the Washington rotation. He has had success against the Mets, going 1-0 with a 0.98 ERA in three career games (one start).

Regardless of who is pitching, Nationals manager Davey Johnson wants to see more offense out of his club during the season's final month.

"Swing the bats better. We have showed signs of it, but I want us to stay aggressive, attack, go after guys," Johnson said. "I see signs of it. I have some young guys who are in their first full year in the big leagues, so I have patience on that."

Mets: K-Rod trade completed
The Mets and Brewers completed their mid-July trade for reliever Francisco Rodriguez on Thursday, as New York selected right-handed pitcher Adrian Rosario and left-hander Daniel Ray Herrera.

Rosario posted a 5.83 ERA in 16 appearances (14 starts) for Class A advanced Brevard County before being demoted to Class A Wisconsin. There, the 21-year-old struck out 42 batters in 33 2/3 innings.

Herrera has more experience, logging 115 Major League appearances with the Reds and Brewers. In 29 games with Triple-A Nashville this season, the lefty notched a 1.48 ERA. He is expected to join the Mets for Friday's opener against the Nationals.

Nationals: Pudge coming back soon
Nationals catcher Ivan Rodriguez is expected to return sometime during the team's upcoming 10-game homestand.

Rodriguez, on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right oblique, is currently on a rehab assignment with Double-A Harrisburg. Though Rodriguez might not be at full strength when he returns, Johnson expects the veteran backstop to make a solid contribution.

"He is not in top playing condition," Johnson said about Rodriguez. "Pudge doesn't have to prove anything to me or anybody else in baseball. He is a quality player. Even if he is only 70 percent in playing shape, he would do one heck of a job out there."

Worth noting
• The Mets' win over the Marlins on Thursday was the 3,800th victory in team history.

• Washington's Danny Espinosa leads all National League rookies with 19 home runs.

• The Nationals hit 33 home runs in August, tied for the third-highest single-month total in franchise history. Washington hit 38 homers in May 2006.

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