PHOENIX - John Lannan gathered his belongings from his locker and left the Mets clubhouse here Wednesday. Just a few minutes later, Daisuke Matsuzaka moved his things into that same locker.
With that, the Mets quickly completed a roster shuffle, which brought the veteran Matsuzaka back into the fold as insurance for the starting rotation.
Bartolo Colon has dealt with back tightness the last two days. Jenrry Mejia has a blister on the middle finger of his pitching hand. Though Colon is expected to start on Saturday night against the Braves, the Mets may wait until Mejia throws his bullpen session Friday to decide whether he'll make his next scheduled start.
For now, general manager Sandy Alderson said Matsuzaka will pitch in long relief despite his lack of experience in the role.
Lannan, the Long Island native, struggled to make the transition to the bullpen after signing with the Mets to compete for a spot in the rotation. A lifelong starter, Lannan was outrighted to Triple-A Las Vegas after posting a 15.75 ERA in five relief appearances.
"It's a learning process," said Lannan, who has 72 hours to accept the assignment or become a free agent. "And it's very hard to learn at this level."
Meanwhile, Matsuzaka was promoted from Las Vegas, where he landed after losing out in the fifth-starter competition during spring training. Matsuzaka, 33, had a 2.25 ERA in two starts.
The veteran righthander told reporters he was happy to rejoin the Mets even in a relief role.
"I actually expected to be in Vegas for longer, so it's pretty out of the blue but I'm glad," Matsuzaka said through an interpreter. "The earlier the better, so I'm happy about that."
Chris Young will come off the disabled list for Friday night's series opener at Citi Field . . . Eric Young Jr. finished the road trip 12-for-36 (.333) with 12 runs and nine stolen bases . . . In Wednesday's win, Jose Valverde allowed back-to-back homers after entering in the ninth with a 5-0 lead. Terry Collins said Valverde will remain in the closer's role . . . Collins said he'll consider giving backup catcher Anthony Recker more time. Recker homered twice on the trip. Travis d'Arnaud is hitting .154 . . . Curtis Granderson grounded out in a pinch-hitting appearance and is expected to start Friday night. He had been sidelined with contusions on his left knee, rib cage and forearm.