Inside Pitch: How many pitchers?

With two games remaining in spring training, the Mets have one remaining significant issue: Will they carry 11 or 12 pitchers?

It could come down to left-hander Darren Oliver and right-hander Jose Lima, but lefty Pedro Feliciano is also in the mix.

Oliver, who could stick as the situational lefty, started Thursday's game against St. Louis and gave up three hits in two scoreless innings.

Lima lost out to Brian Bannister in a bid to be the fifth starter, but he could stick as a long reliever and spot starter. He gave up one run on four hits in two innings against the Cardinals.

What could decide the number of pitchers is outfielder Victor Diaz. If the feeling is Diaz is better off getting at-bats in the minors than sitting on the bench -- which appears to be the way they are leaning -- it is likely the team will carry 12 pitchers.

NOTES, QUOTES

  • Rickey Henderson, the career stolen bases leader, finished his brief stay as a guest instructor Thursday very impressed with SS Jose Reyes. "He has a lot of ability," Henderson said. "I think he's going to have a big year."

  • RHP Mitch Wylie, a Rule 5 pick who opted for free agency rather than accept a minor league assignment, reconsidered and was re-signed.

  • LHP Darren Oliver and RHP Jose Lima were effective in Thursday's game against St. Louis. They are competing for one of the remaining pitching spots. The Mets currently have 10 pitchers considered givens on their staff, but manager Willie Randolph is undecided as to whether to keep 11 or 12.

  • RHP Pedro Martinez is still on schedule and expected to work four innings Friday against St. Louis.

  • 3B David Wright on the steroid investigation: "I think we are in agreement that we want this to be a clean game. If somebody is caught using steroids, they should be severely punished."

    BY THE NUMBERS: 1,406 -- Career stolen bases for Rickey Henderson, a guest instructor in camp to work with SS Jose Reyes.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "My body will tell me when I am ready." -- RHP Pedro Martinez's response to questions about how far he expects to go when he returns to the mound.