Already wielding arguably the best starting rotation in Major League Baseball, the New York Mets will likely welcome young lefty Steven Matz back in a few weeks.
The 24-year-old native of Stony Brook, NY, hit the disabled list with a partially torn left lat muscle after just two starts. But the Mets top pitching prospect is expected to return at the beginning of September, according to Zach Braziller of the New York Post.
As Brazziler notes, Matz is slated to begin a rehab assignment this Saturday with High-A St. Lucie, likely throwing 25 pitches during that initial rehab outing. From that point, he will gradually build up his arm strength and pitch count, hopefully culminating in a September return.
A September return would mean Matz missed just over a month-and-a-half of action, as he hit the DL on July 10. Mets GM Sandy Alderson tells Braziller that with his left-hander returning at the beginning of September, it could possibly gear up the team to implement a six-man rotation.
“We’d like to get Steven Matz back on or around [Sept. 1]. If that happens, it’s possible to go back to a six-man rotation.”
With crown jewels Matt Harvey (148 IP), Noah Syndergaard (98.2 IP), and Jacob deGrom (146.2 IP) all rapidly reaching their innings limits for 2015, the Mets will have to closely monitor their key starters. Harvey is coming off Tommy John surgery, Syndergaard is pitching in his first season and deGrom only in his second full season, the team will have to be careful to not overwork their young arms.
Yet, with that being the goal, Alderson mentions that the team is aware of how to manage the situation.
“There are some things we can do to help manage those innings.”
With Matz back, the Mets would have Harvey, Syndergaard, deGrom, Bartolo Colon, Jon Niese and Matz in their rotation. Six potent arms that have seen their share of success in 2015. Also, with a 3.5 game lead in the National League East on the second place Washington Nationals, the Mets do have some margin for error.
Before his injury, Matz showed the fans and front office that he was worthy of his reputation. Although he did make only two starts, he won both of them, currently boasting a 2-0 record with a 1.32 ERA through 13-and-two-thirds innings. His contributions went beyond the mound, as he showed he could swing the bat, too.
In his debut, Matz went 3-for-3, driving in four runs as the Mets defeated the Cincinnati Reds 7-2. Those four RBI are a Mets club record for a player making their MLB debut. After the start, Matz expressed his love of hitting to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York.
“I love hitting, so it’s pretty cool to have that record. “I don’t like to be an easy out up there as a pitcher.”
In other Mets injury news, team captain, David Wright, is currently on a rehab assignment, which began this past Monday. Through two games, he has two hits in six at-bats, with six innings at third base to his credit. Wright could be back with the team in a couple of weeks, as well.
[Image by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images]