The Mets intend to stay in a six-man rotation until mid-August, pitching coach Dan Warthen said Wednesday. The plan would lessen workloads by three or four starts, or roughly 20 innings, which would keep several of their starters within their innings limits.
"It is better for the players, better for the organization," Warthen said. "At least until we feel like we have plenty of innings left in September and still have the possibility of innings left in October."
The idea represents the lesser of two evils for the Mets, who hope to avoid shutting down any of their arms for prolonged stretches.
Pitchers typically prefer to stick with their routines and the extra starter presents extra challenges such as staying sharp with extra rest.
"Even the sixth man was tough to convince," Warthen said. "They all know . . . they all understand why we're doing it. To convince them to do it, we'll see what happens."
With Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard facing innings caps, the Mets intend to work around the complications. Some pitchers could throw extra bullpen sessions between starts.
In cases when command becomes an issue, Warthen said some pitchers could wind up throwing batting practice to regain their feel.
Dillon Gee, who gave up two earned runs in 6 1/3 innings Wednesday night in Binghamton, will be added to the rotation either Tuesday or Wednesday against the Padres.
It's unclear whether the Mets would remain in the alignment in case of an injury or a trade.
The six-man rotation is set to take effect as Harvey emerges from a dead-arm period -- or fatigue -- that typically affects pitchers once or twice a year. He will make his next start Friday against the Marlins.
"Our No. 1 concern is our pitchers, our pitchers staying healthy," Warthen said. "From the organization's standpoint, from my standpoint, I think it's the smart thing to do."
The Mets traded Kirk Nieuwenhuis to the Angels for cash considerations (no players coming back in the deal), the club announced. Nieuwenhuis broke camp as the fifth outfielder. But after hitting .079 (3-for-38) to begin the season, he was designated for assignment May 19.
Black wrapping up
Reliever Vic Black (shoulder) may be nearing his return to the big leagues after pitching in back-to-back rehab games with Double-A Binghamton. "Essentially, physically he is ready," Warthen said. "We have to go from there."