By NICOLINO DIBENEDETTO
(AP) -- David Wright is out, and Ike Davis is slumping.
Fortunately for the New York Mets, Johan Santana is ready to take the mound again. The Washington Nationals, however, are countering with their own ace in Stephen Strasburg.
With Wright and Davis expected to sit again, Santana will try to build on his promising return as the Mets attempt to rebound from their first loss of the season Wednesday against Strasburg and the Nationals.
Wright has a broken right pinky finger, and the Mets (4-1) prefer he takes time to heal instead of playing through the injury. That's a tremendous blow to New York's lineup since the All-Star third baseman is 7 for 12 with a homer and four RBIs in four games.
It's unclear if Wright will go on the disabled list, but he's scheduled to be fitted for a custom splint.
"No one ever really wants to go on the DL. Hopefully, that's not the case this time," Wright said. "It's always frustrating to miss time, kind of breaks up the momentum we had."
Without Wright, the Mets fell 6-2 to Washington (3-2) on Tuesday, a night after a walkoff 4-3 victory in the opener of this three-game set at Citi Field.
Davis is expected to join Wright on the bench for a second consecutive game. The first baseman is still searching for his first hit of 2012 after striking out for the seventh time in 16 at-bats during a pinch-hit appearance Tuesday.
Santana will try to compensate with another stellar outing. The left-hander was impressive Thursday, yielding two hits and fanning five in five innings of a 1-0 season-opening win over Atlanta. It was Santana's first start since September 2010 due to shoulder surgery, and he was limited to 84 pitches.
The two-time Cy Young Award winner plans to ramp up his pitch count.
"That's the goal is to go deeper into the game and build up pitches, and we'll see how everything goes," Santana told the Mets' official website. "I still have a long way to go. We're still working, but we're going in the right direction."
Santana is 5-1 with a 3.20 ERA in seven starts versus Washington since being traded to New York from Minnesota in February 2008.
Strasburg is looking to build on his own impressive opening-day performance.
The right-hander allowed one run in seven innings, although he didn't get a decision in Thursday's 2-1 victory over the Chicago Cubs as he began his first full season after being limited to five starts last year following Tommy John surgery.
Strasburg allowed two runs and struck out five in five innings in his only previous start against the Mets on July 3, 2010. He didn't get a decision in Washington's 6-5 home win.
Jayson Werth seems to enjoy visiting Citi Field. The right fielder is 10 for 25 with two doubles and a triple in his last six games there.
He's collected five hits in this series - four Tuesday - after starting the year 0 for 10.
"It's not how you start, it's how you finish," said Werth, who finished with a .232 average, 20 homers and 58 RBIs in 2011, his disappointing first year with the Nationals.
Wilson Ramos, who had two hits and one RBI Tuesday, is hitting .483 with three homers and 12 RBIs in 18 career meetings with the Mets.
Updated April 11, 2012