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Back strain puts Batista's next start in doubt

TOR View Full Game Coverage ONTO -- Coming off seven innings of scoreless ball last week against the Brewers, Miguel Batista was thrilled that the groin strain that bothered him throughout that game did not affect him between starts. Batista threw his routine bullpen earlier this week without issue, then prepared to pitch as deep as possible Saturday afternoon against the Blue Jays.

He made it two innings. Though the groin was never a problem, Batista strained a muscle in his lower back in the second, leaving after that inning to receive treatment. The 41-year-old right-hander met with a Blue Jays doctor, who diagnosed the strain and prescribed him anti-inflammatory medication, leaving Batista unsure if he will be able to make his next start.

"I felt a pull there and it felt funny," Batista said of his 3-2 pitch to Eric Thames in the second. "And after that, I felt it every pitch."

Batista is 1-1 with a 3.95 ERA this season in four starts and nine relief appearances.

Though the Mets will wait to see how Batista feels Sunday morning, they have asked Chris Schwinden to join the club from Triple-A Buffalo in case the veteran starter needs to go on the disabled list. If that is the case, or even if Batista must miss a single start, the Mets will proceed with Jeremy Hefner in their rotation.

"If Miguel can't start, he's going in that spot," manager Terry Collins said of Hefner.

That confidence comes from the fact that Hefner relieved Batista on Saturday and fired five innings of two-run ball, taking the loss but pitching about as well as the Mets could have hoped. Hefner had been thriving at Buffalo prior to his callup Saturday morning, posting a 2.72 ERA in seven starts.

Schwinden, who made two starts earlier this year, will join the Mets on their taxi squad. The team will have 24 hours either to activate him or send him back down to Buffalo.

New York Mets, Miguel Batista, Jeremy Hefner, Chris Schwinden