Steven Matz is ready to go. After a season that saw the 24-year-old lefthander start Game 4 of the World Series as a rookie, the Ward Melville High School graduate is beginning to feel the gentle pull of spring training.
“That first month was nice to have off, but now I’m getting the itch to head back down and start up again,” Matz said, speaking at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital Monday. “I’m heading down a lot earlier too.”
Matz made his major-league debut on June 28 and went 4-0 with a 2.27 ERA. He made only six regular-season starts because of a torn lat muscle and late-season back injury. He made three postseason starts, allowing six runs on 17 hits in 14 2⁄3 innings (3.68 ERA). He allowed two runs on seven hits in five innings of the Mets’ 5-3 loss to the Royals in Game 4.
The Mets will open their Grapefruit League schedule on March 3 against the Washington Nationals and now former Met Daniel Murphy in Viera, Florida.
But, until Matz heads south to start preparations for his first full season in orange and blue, he relishes being able to give back to the community.
“Kids look up to what you do,” Matz said. “The impact it has on them is really cool.”