Steven Matz threw a full bullpen session, sprinted in the outfield and took batting practice in a cage near the Mets clubhouse Wednesday afternoon. All he must do to be officially named the starter for Friday night’s game against the Phillies is to wake up Thursday without unusual soreness.
“As of today, he’s good to go. We always wait until tomorrow to see how he comes out of it,” Terry Collins said after having watched the lefthanded pitcher from Long Island throw at Citi Field for the first time after returning from rehab on his shoulder in Port St. Lucie. The Mets manager cautioned that, if Matz does start the game, he will have a limited pitch count. Earlier this week, Collins estimated the number at about 50.
“He hasn’t pitched in quite a while,” Collins said before the game against the Braves and after having watched the session along with owner Fred Wilpon and pitching coach Dan Warthen. “But he looked very good, looked nice and easy, the ball came out of his hand great. We’ll see how it goes when we get here tomorrow.”
Matz has been bothered by a shoulder impingement, which has kept him out of games since Aug. 14. He said after a workout in Florida Tuesday, “I’m feeling good and ready to go.”
His team has reason to be cautious, though. Last Friday, Collins announced that Jacob deGrom would be ready to return from an injury to start two days later. But the team said a day later that deGrom needed surgery to repair the ulnar nerve in his elbow. DeGrom had successful surgery Wednesday at the Hospital for Special Surgery and is expected to be ready for spring training, the club announced.
But Matz looked fine to the teammates who saw his work from close range on Wednesday. Brandon Nimmo, who stood at the plate to give the pitcher the feeling of throwing to a batter, said the ball left Matz’s hand in perfect form. Kevin Plawecki, who caught Matz, said he looked “great” and that he threw all of his pitches.