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NYM@CIN: Harvey uses bat, arm to topple Reds

Matt Harvey's debut was historic, but his most recent start was his best. The rookie was most efficient his last time out against the Reds, throwing less pitches than he did in all but one of his five career starts, but going deeper into the game than he ever had.

It brought him 7 2/3 innings closer to his season limit of about 165-170, and he enters Wednesday's matchup with the Rockies at Citi Field with 140 innings between the Mets and Triple-A Buffalo. There will be no complaints if he can pitch deep into another game against Colorado, though, or if he can continue to support himself with his bat against Rockies counterpart Jeff Francis after hitting a two-run double his last time out against Cincinnati.

Instead, the Mets are contemplating other ways to save the righty's arm, namely a six-man rotation.

"We try to protect him the best we can," said manager Terry Collins. "I think obviously going forward here in the next however many times he's going to start, we'll certainly monitor the workload a little bit so that he finishes strong."

Collins wants to avoid spending part of next Spring Training building up Harvey's arm strength if soreness develops and forces him to rest in the offseason.

The Rockies likely just want to know what they have in Francis.

The 31-year-old left-hander was once nothing but promise for Colorado, starting Game 1 of the World Series in 2007, but even after a year away from Coors Field with Kansas City, he has yet to fully realize it, never posting an ERA below 4.16.

Francis has allowed three or more runs in each of his past five starts, never completing six innings in the Rockies' four-man rotation with a 75-pitch limit. Four of those starts were at home, but his 5.09 road ERA is not encouraging either.

He fell victim to the long ball his last time out, surrendering a decisive homer to Marlins shortstop Jose Reyes and ending his outing after five innings.

"It's just a frustrating night for me," Francis said after taking a no-decision, "because I felt like I was going to give us a chance to win that game and got two outs in that inning, and I just missed on that pitch and he did his job."

Rockies: Without improvement, Young lands on DL
The Rockies placed Eric Young on the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday after a rib injury that popped up Sunday showed no signs of improvement.

Young exited Sunday's game after the first inning, and although he said he felt better Monday and did not anticipate a trip to the disabled list, the Rockies exercised caution with their leadoff hitter and center fielder.

The official diagnosis is a left intercostal muscle strain.

"Even though it's feeling better, they want to take precautionary measures and make sure I get it to fully 100 percent as opposed to just feeling good," Young said.

The Rockies used Young's roster spot to activate Jhoulys Chacin from the disabled list and start him in the second of four games at Citi Field. The right-hander threw six innings of one-run ball in his first start since May 1, allowing four hits and walking none to earn the win in Colorado's 6-2 victory.

Mets: Carson rejoins Mets in advance of September
Robert Carson faced three batters and recorded one out, allowing an earned run Tuesday in his return to the big leagues, as manager Terry Collins wants to give the left-handed reliever some work before he presumably joins the Mets for an extended stay after September callups.

The Mets recalled Carson on Tuesday, placing Jeremy Hefner on the paternity list so he can be with his wife, Sarah, for the birth of their second child on Wednesday. Hefner should return for his scheduled start Sunday against the Astros, at which point Carson will likely return to Triple-A Buffalo.

Although it is a short stint, Collins wants a look at Carson.

"The more times I run him out there, the better idea we'll have," Collins said. "I think obviously there's a pretty good chance he'll be here in September anyway, so it would be good to get him some more time on the mound."

The 23-year-old Carson pitched for the Mets twice in May, allowing two runs on three hits and two walks over three innings. He started the year with Double-A Binghamton before joining Buffalo. He pitched 10 times at Triple-A, posting a 1.72 ERA and striking out 15 in 15 2/3 innings.

Worth noting
• Carlos Gonzalez will likely rejoin the Rockies for their game at Citi Field on Wednesday, as he is scheduled to arrive in New York late Tuesday night after traveling to his native Venezuela to mourn the death of his grandfather. The Rockies placed Gonzalez on the bereavement list.

• Children 12 and under can receive free admission to Thursday's series finale at Citi Field. Each regularly priced ticket will allow three children 12 and under to enter for free, but all tickets must be picked up the day of the game with children present.

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