"It was the excitement of the off-day for me," Matt den Dekker said.

NEW YORK -- While most Mets players spent their off-days relaxing with loved ones, Matt den Dekker was nearly run over by a horse.

den Dekker was hanging out in Central Park with teammate Vic Black on Monday when he noticed a horse galloping toward them with a carriage in tow. It was only once the horse approached them that den Dekker realized there was no driver in the carriage.

The horse had broken loose from its reins, according to local news reports, and did not stop until it crashed its carriage into a standing taxicab. No one was injured -- including den Dekker, who had plenty of time to move out of the way.

"There were people everywhere," den Dekker said. "It was the excitement of the off-day for me."

Alderson tells Collins that his job is safe

Terry Collins signed a contract extension at the end of last season.

NEW YORK -- Mets general manager Sandy Alderson met with Terry Collins prior to Tuesday's game against the Brewers to assure the manager that his job is safe.

Alderson said he felt the meeting was necessary due to a fresh round of tabloid rumors surrounding Collins' job security.

"Sometimes you have to address topics you wouldn't otherwise because of all of the noise that surrounds the situation," the GM said. "That's kind of it in a nutshell. You have to take a little bit longer view of things. The first game in Chicago, had we won that, we were a .500 team. Now we're seven under. A lot of stuff has happened in the last week, but nothing so shocking or surprising."

The Mets handed Collins a two-year contract extension at the end of last season with a team option for 2016. Collins has largely escaped blame for his club's lackluster start to the season, though the Mets dismissed hitting coach Dave Hudgens late last month.

"Obviously I talk to Sandy all the time," Collins said. "It is what it is. It's part of the job. All these things are all part of this job. You know what? It isn't going to change the way we come to the ballpark. You stay positive, you stay upbeat, have some fun, get the guys ready to play, and go out and play hard and see if you can win."

Harvey realizes pitching in 2014 is unlikely

MIL@NYM: Harvey discusses his rehab, 2014 Mets

NEW YORK -- For Matt Harvey, realism is setting in.

Harvey acknowledged Tuesday that because the Mets have pushed back his Tommy John rehab schedule, a 2014 return to the big leagues seems as unrealistic as ever.

"I'm always going to be on board with what they have to say," Harvey said of the Mets and their doctors. "I can only do so much, and speak my two cents. As a competitor, I'm always going to want to get out there, but I can't write myself out there and set up my own program, so whatever they have set up is obviously the way we're going to go."

Harvey planned to meet with staff members Tuesday to draw up his revamped rehab schedule. He was originally supposed to throw off a mound for the first time Tuesday, but rehab coordinator Jon Debus informed him last week that the Mets planned to decelerate his itinerary. General manager Sandy Alderson later added that the Mets will not let Harvey throw competitively until 11 full months have passed since surgery, all but eliminating any chance Harvey had at pitching in the big leagues before 2015.

"I think it's always been there," Harvey said of the unlikelihood of returning this year. "I think it was a matter of me not wanting it to happen. I still want to pitch this year. That's always going to be on my mind. But coming to realize that I can't write myself in the lineup is becoming a little bit more realistic."

Mets option Rice, activate Germen from DL

PHI@NYM: Rice picks off Utley on attempted steal

NEW YORK -- Scott Rice, the former 31-year-old rookie reliever who was one of the feel-good stories of the 2013 Mets, is no longer a big leaguer.

The Mets optioned Rice to Triple-A Las Vegas late Tuesday night, activating right-hander Gonzalez Germen from the disabled list. Even with Rice gone, the Mets still have two lefties in their bullpen in Josh Edgin and Dana Eveland.

Rice, now 32, has struggled since the outset of this season, posting a 5.93 ERA in 32 appearances -- the vast majority of them less than an inning in length. Left-handed batters were reaching base against him at a .392 clip, largely because of the eight walks they drew off him in 52 plate appearances.

Rice had allowed at least one run in three of his last eight appearances, increasing his ERA from 5.06 to 5.93.

Germen, 26, went on the disabled list May 6 with a virus, which ultimately resulted in an abscess and an infection. He posted a 3.57 ERA in 13 outings prior to that, proving far more effective against right-handed batters (.584 OPS) than lefties (.960), and is coming off six consecutive scoreless outings in a Minor League rehab assignment.

Germen adds another jolt of youth to a bullpen that the Mets have completely revamped over the past month, calling up youngsters Edgin and Vic Black from the Minors while converting Jenrry Mejia back to relief.

The team also recently added Eveland, a 30-year-old veteran who has allowed one run in three innings.

Murphy talks working dads at White House

"I'm glad we did it," Daniel Murphy said.

NEW YORK -- Insisting he was not nervous to speak at the White House during Monday's off-day, Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy said that, in fact, he "winged it."

Speaking about the role of working fathers in today's society, Murphy used his White House speech to thank his wife for all the work she does, and to discuss how the role of fathers is evolving. White House officials invited Murphy to speak on that topic after he absorbed criticism for taking paternity leave in April to attend the birth of his son, Noah.

"It was cool," Murphy said. "It didn't feel like it was overwhelming or anything, other than the lack of experience I have as a working dad. It was enjoyable. I'm glad we did it."

Taking a red-eye flight from San Francisco on Sunday night, Murphy met his wife, son, mother and father-in-law in Washington early Monday morning. The entire group took a tour of the White House, before Murphy climbed behind the podium for his speech.

"I really enjoyed it," Murphy said. "It was a humbling experience to be able to speak at an event I really don't have much experience in, working fathers. It was good."

Worth noting

• Shortstop Ruben Tejada led off Tuesday for the first time this season. Tejada has mostly batted eighth for the Mets, but Collins moved him up in the order with both Eric Young and Juan Lagares on the disabled list.