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Mets' Steven Matz throws five perfect innings, Seth Lugo goes six in rehab outings

New York Mets pitcher Steven Matz looks on

New York Mets pitcher Steven Matz looks on from the dugout during a spring training game against the Washington Nationals, Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017, in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa

PITTSBURGH — Reinforcements soon may be coming for the beleaguered Mets.

Steven Matz posted an impressive line on Sunday with Triple-A Las Vegas, tossing five perfect innings in his third minor-league rehab start. The lefthander struck out eight and threw 73 pitches, positioning himself to throw about 100 pitches in his next outing.

Manager Terry Collins said it was too soon to know whether that next appearance could be with the Mets, but he was encouraged by the results.

“Five perfect innings in Las Vegas?” Collins said. “I’ve played a lot of games in Las Vegas. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen that.”

The oft-injured Matz has spent the season on the disabled list with what he called a flexor tendon strain in his elbow, though the Mets have called the injury elbow inflammation. The 25-year-old lefty went 9-8 with a 3.40 ERA last season, when arm problems limited his season to 22 starts.

Righthander Seth Lugo also made his third minor-league rehab start on Sunday, allowing three runs and eight hits in six innings while pitching for Double-A Binghamton. He struck out seven and threw 79 pitches, also setting himself up to approach 100 pitches in his next outing.

The Mets could use an infusion of arms. Though Lugo has started, he also has experience pitching in relief and could help a bullpen that has been taxed with a heavy workload. Matz could help a rotation that is missing Noah Syndergaard and Tommy Milone, who was brought in to fill a void left by injuries.

Extra bases

Outfielder Michael Conforto did not start Sunday night’s series finale against the Pirates. Collins called it a routine day off, one that was timed so Conforto can play on Monday, when Neil Walker is due for a breather . . . Tyler Pill pitched in relief on Saturday in his major-league debut but still is the Mets’ likely starter on Tuesday . . . Zack Wheeler is expected to make his next scheduled start on Thursday despite a blister on his right middle finger that forced him out of Saturday night’s game after six innings.

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