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PHI@NYM: Hefner's arm and bat shine in victory

If the Mets had stuck to their normal rotation, Wednesday would have marked Johan Santana's first start since tossing his historic no-hitter last Friday night. Instead, the Mets will call upon Jeremy Hefner to make his third career start in Santana's place.

New York elected to push Santana's start back a couple days to Friday and provide him with some extra rest after he needed 134 pitches to complete the franchise's first no-no last week. The return of Chris Young to the rotation on Tuesday allowed the Mets to use Hefner on Wednesday -- a start that seems long overdue.

Hefner was prepared to start this past Saturday against St. Louis if the weather in New York had been unfavorable for knuckleballer R.A. Dickey and his go-to pitch. That didn't come to fruition, but then neither did Hefner's scheduled start this past Monday, as the Mets instead called upon Dillon Gee.

There was even a point after Santana's no-hitter where Mets manager Terry Collins considered bringing Dickey back on short rest for Wednesday's tilt, but finally settled on sending Hefner out to the mound, thus allowing Dickey to pitch on regular rest Thursday.

"We talked about possibly bringing R.A. back early on short rest," Collins said. "I knew R.A. could do it, I knew he was willing to do it, I couldn't find anyone that liked it. But when you're 8-1 and pitching as well as he is, you really don't want to disrupt the whole schedule that he's on."

Regardless of who's on the mound come game time, Nationals starter Edwin Jackson is just hoping his teammates can provide some run support off the opposing pitcher. Jackson is winless in his last eight starts, despite limiting the opposition to three or fewer runs in six of those outings.

Washington has scored just three combined runs in Jackson's last three starts, during which he's allowed just five earned runs over 21 2/3 innings. Jackson ultimately doomed himself in his last outing with an errant pickoff throw that led to the eventual game-winning (unearned) run in the seventh inning. Jackson allowed two runs (one earned) off five hits over 6 2/3 innings overall.

"Heck of a ballgame," Nats manager Davey Johnson said of Jackson's outing. "You can't do much better than he did."

Mets: Bullpen aches and pains
Not only are the Mets starters dealing with some shakeup in the rotation, but they're also going to be counted upon to handle some heavier workloads for the time being.

New York's bullpen took a couple hits Tuesday as the Mets placed Ramon Ramirez on the disabled list (hamstring) and also received some bad news regarding reliever Jon Rauch. Rauch stayed back in New York to meet with team doctors and it turns out he is dealing with some debris in his pitching elbow that will sideline him until at least Friday.

"We're going to have to get some innings out of our starters, for sure," Collins said Tuesday before his team's 12-inning loss. "Certainly, we're going to have to be careful about how we use some of the guys in our bullpen."

Nationals: DeRosa continuing to rest oblique
There is still no timetable for Mark DeRosa's return from the disabled list, as the outfielder continues to battle a sore left oblique. Doctors have instructed DeRosa, who hasn't seen any game action since April 27, not to play until the soreness has completely subsided.

DeRosa is currently in New Jersey with his father, Jack, who is battling cancer. According to Johnson, Jack suffered a relapse recently.

"Mark is by his father's side right now," Johnson said. "So we text back and forth. I told him, '[Jack] needs you more than we do. It's a good time to give [that oblique] a rest.'"

Worth noting
• The Nationals have a slight edge in the head-to-head series since the start of the 2009 season, posting a 30-28 record against the Mets during that span. Comments