Pagan plans to fly back to Florida to resume his rehab on Sunday, but will not participate in any baseball activities until he is again pain-free.
"Knowing we were hoping that he would be here tomorrow, he just felt that he wasn't ready for that," Mets manager Terry Collins said Friday afternoon. "There was some discomfort and that point tenderness stuff, I guess. So they decided to bring him up [to New York] and have him reexamined."
Placed on the disabled list on April 22 with a strained left oblique, Pagan began a Minor League rehab assignment earlier this week, playing all eight innings in the field on Thursday for Class A St. Lucie. But after the game, he complained of discomfort in his left oblique, prompting the Mets to fly him back to New York.
Pagan, who would have been eligible to come off the disabled list for the first time on Saturday, also missed time last season with a strained right oblique. Mired in a .159 slump with one home run and four stolen bases prior to his injury, Pagan had nonetheless been contributing with superlative defense in center field.
His continued absence will prevent the Mets from making a difficult decision. Minor League callup Jason Pridie has been manning center field nearly every day -- and playing quite well -- in Pagan's place, prompting some discussion of cutting veteran outfielder Willie Harris, rather than demoting Pridie, upon Pagan's return.
That decision will now wait until some point in the future. There remains no specific timetable for Pagan's return.
"We need him back and we want him back," Collins said. "It just prolongs the whole thing. But ultimately we've just got to make sure he's ready to play, and he's not."