JUPITER, Fla. - Mets lefthander Steven Matz, who is recovering from a partially torn muscle in his left side, pitched an inning Saturday for the St. Lucie Mets -- his first game action since July 5.
The 24-year-old former Ward Melville star from Stony Brook, a second-round pick in the 2009 draft, seemed to throw free and easy during his 23-pitch stint, including at least one very good curveball. He allowed three singles and struck out two.
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After that, Matz threw at a leisurely pace in the bullpen for about 10 minutes.
"My arm feels really good," he said. "There was no discomfort. That's what I'm happy about."
Matz said he wanted to make his 25-pitch quota last at least into the second inning. "My command is not where I want it to be exactly,'' he said, "but a few more times on the mound will help."
Matz's rehabbing teammates, David Wright and Kirk Nieuwenhuis, played longer than one inning. Nieuwenhuis struck out swinging and Wright grounded out in the top of the first. All three said they are taking their rehab assignments day by day.
Wright, who played third base and came out after seven innings, went 0-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout. Nieuwenhuis played nine innings in a 4-3 loss and went 0-for-4 with a walk and two strikeouts.
Nieuwenhuis led off the fourth with a walk and advanced to third when Wright grounded to third and the ball was thrown into rightfield. Dominic Smith, the Mets' first-round pick in 2013, singled to drive in Nieuwenhuis, and Wright later scored on a sacrifice fly.
With the score tied at 2 in the fifth, none out and runners on first and second, Nieuwenhuis' sharp grounder to first advanced the runners. Righthanded reliever Victor Araujo then struck out Wright, who chased a 1-and-2 slider low and away.
Playing third base for the third time during his rehab stint, Wright wasn't able to come up with a grounder after diving for it in the first. It was ruled a hit.
In the fifth, he was charged with his second error when he bobbled and dropped a hard ground ball hit right at him.
Wright said it's more difficult to get his timing back on defense because he never knows when a ball will be hit toward him. He said he can mentally prepare better for at-bats.
"I'd like more balls to be hit to me," he said. "I can go out there and take ground balls, but I'd like more action in games."
Wright, who appeared in only eight games before going on the disabled list April 20 -- first with a strained right hamstring, then with spinal stenosis in his lower back -- is 4-for-14 (.286) with St. Lucie.