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Unspectacular start, but Mets pitcher Robert Gsellman will get more chances

Mets starting pitcher Robert Gsellman stands on the

Mets starting pitcher Robert Gsellman stands on the mound after giving up a three-run home run to Nationals left fielder Juan Soto during the first inning of an MLB game at Citi Field on Wednesday. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Robert Gsellman’s first start since 2017 was less than spectacular, but he will get more opportunities in the role.

With the rotation flagging after ace Jacob deGrom and Michael Wacha recently moved to the Injured List with shoulder inflammation, the Mets are converting the righthander from a relief pitcher to a starter for the remainder of the season, manager Luis Rojas said.

Gsellman came up as a starter and was the Mets starting pitcher in 29 of his first 33 appearances, in 2016 and 2017, going 11-9 with a 4.60 ERA. “We came up with [Gsellman] because he had the experience of doing it, we feel he has the repertoire and, given the circumstances, he can fall right in into place,” Rojas said. He added that it was a better option than a bullpen game and that Seth Lugo – who desires to be a starting pitcher – is too valuable in the many relief roles he performs.

Gsellman, who admitted to being nervous in his first start since Sept. 27, 2017, surrendered four hits including a three-run homer to Juan Soto before recording his second out. He retired the last five batters he faced and was done after two innings and 33 pitches.

Rojas said before first pitch that the Mets were looking to get 45-60 pitches from Gsellman and that the Mets would add to his workload with each subsequent turn in the rotation. He had made only one appearance this season after starting it on the Injured List with triceps tightness, throwing a scoreless inning of relief on Aug. 8.

“I wasn’t making the pitches I needed to [and] they took advantage,” he said. “I’m going to get a better feel on the mound and get better results next time.”

Cano may be back Friday

Robinson Cano’s injury last week was bad news all around. The diagnosis – a Grade 2 left groin strain – sounded severe. The impact to the Mets of losing a hitter slashing .412/.462/.559 was potentially devastating. However the Mets might get a best-case scenario: Cano could return when he is eligible on Friday.

The club had Cano simulating game conditions the past two days. On Tuesday he went back and forth between taking balls in the field and sitting on the bench, which manager Luis Rojas said “let the muscle rest and then ramps it up again. . . . It’s another step ahead, moving toward when he is eligible,” Rojas said. “Right now everything is going well.”

Cano needs to be in the lineup as soon as possible, but it could be at designated hitter. Touted rookie Andres Gimenez is batting .283  and has a run of 47 errorless innings at second base, third base and shortstop. He played shortstop Wednesday as Amed Rosario dealt with stomach issues for a second straight day.

Lowrie having treatments

Injured infielder Jed Lowrie is having a series of injections in his left knee – including PRP – with the aim of alleviating the discomfort there and possibly getting him activated. The 36-year-old’s timeline to return would depend on how he responds to the treatments. . . . Michael Wacha, on the IL with shoulder inflammation, played catch at a distance of 75 feet on Tuesday.

New York Sports