ST. LOUIS -- Luis Castillo played the ninth inning as part of a double switch Wednesday night after the New York Mets had determined the second baseman would be placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained hip flexor.
That half-inning of defense in an 8-7 loss to the Cardinals will sideline the three-time Gold Glove winner and All-Star until at least the first game after the All-Star break. Castillo did not play the previous two games.
"We could have used those days to buy him some time," interim manager Jerry Manuel said Thursday. "The situation called for us to insert him so we had to do what we had to do to try to win a game."
Utility man Damion Easley, 38, is likely to get the bulk of the playing time until Castillo, batting .261 in 68 games with three home runs and 26 RBI, is ready. Castillo is in the first year of a $25 million, four-year contract and has had trouble recovering from arthroscopic surgery on both knees in the offseason.
Manuel said Castillo was to undergo an MRI exam on Thursday, adding "What part of the body, I don't know."
The manager added that Castillo was receptive to the move.
"I think he was probably struggling a little mentally to try to get through it," Manuel said. "So this might help get it out of the way, get healthy and then be ready to go. I think he was ready to get some answers to what was going on."
Aguila was batting .288 with 17 homers and 43 RBI in the minors after going 1-for-6 with the Mets last month, while Reyes was batting .290 with 11 doubles, 13 steals and 22 RBI in the minors.
The moves give the Mets bench help while they wait for outfielder Moises Alou, who turned 42 on Thursday, to return from a strained left calf that has sidelined him since June 13. Alou's target date has twice been pushed back due to poor weather that has prevented him from getting rehab at-bats, and the team scrapped a scheduled weekend rehab stint with Double-A Binghamton in favor of Alou working out in New York.
Under the revised scenario, team spokesman Jay Horwitz said Alou will be re-evaluated Monday and Manuel said he might be back before the All-Star break. Alou is batting .347 in 15 games with nine RBI and has been on the DL three times.
"We didn't want to rush him into playing games," Horwitz said.