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Mets slow down Billy Wagner's quick recovery from Tommy John surgery

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Billy Wagner, who has been throwing in his native Virginia, has been shut down by the Mets. But there's no bad news. Mets officials are concerned an enthusiastic Wagner is trying to rehab from Sept. 10 Tommy John surgery too quickly and requested a throwing moratorium to avoid the risk of re-injury.

Wagner is not expected to visit camp, but Mets rehab specialists Chris Correnti and Guy Conti are expected to visit the southpaw at his home when the Mets break camp in three weeks. Wagner expects to be with the Mets for the season's final month, if not earlier, a source close to the former closer said.

TAKING SHAPE: Jerry Manuel, who has indicated that Jose Reyes is likely to resume leading off when the season begins, said he hopes to begin using his regular-season lineup beginning March 25. Manuel said he still believes Reyes can hit second or third, but wants to keep the shortstop comfortable.

The manager hinted that his bottom three may be Brian Schneider at No. 7, Luis Castillo at No. 8 and the pitcher. Daniel Murphy and Carlos Beltran could fit at No. 2, according to Manuel.

BAD NEWS: Fernando Tatis, who returned to camp with Reyes after the Dominican's ouster in the World Baseball Classic, said he didn't enjoy the experience because the lower-profile players were treated shoddily. "If you're going to make a team, you have to respect everybody like we are the same level," said Tatis, who started one game at first base after replacing Alex Rodriguez on the roster. "...I felt bad for the young guys. I didn't like how they treated them down there."

BAD BREAK: Tom Martin broke his right wrist falling down stairs at his home, a Mets spokesman said. The lefthanded reliever had already been sidelined by a strained calf....Freddy Garcia, who has allowed eight runs (six earned) in 4-2/3 innings over three spring appearances, starts Friday against the Tigers. While Livan Hernandez has emerged as the favorite for the fifth-starter's role, with Tim Redding as the long reliever, a Mets official said the organization is prepared to take the race to the final week of camp rather than trim the field soon....Marlon Anderson had an excused absence to receive a University of South Alabama Distinguished Alumni Award in Mobile, Ala....Duaner Sanchez cleared waivers, officially making him a free agent....Omar Minaya said he has no reason to believe the reported investigation into age discrepancies with Dominican prospects will affect the Mets. ...Rob Mackowiak, Eddie Kunz, Valerio de los Santos and Josh Thole were sent to minor-league camp.

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