PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — While Tim Tebow was going through his publicity-generating first baseball day with the Mets on Monday, a few fields over, a lefthander who actually could help them this season was doing his own lonely workout.
Steven Matz, who could rejoin the Mets and start as soon as Friday, went through fielding and running drills in front of one fan. At the same time, Tebow practiced in front of nearly 600 fans and 70 or so media members.
The Matz fan asked the Long Island native if he is planning to go up to New York and pitch for the Mets this week. Matz, who hasn’t pitched since Aug. 14 because of a shoulder injury, said he is.
Matz was more cautious when Newsday asked the same question.
“We’re just taking it step by step,” he said. “I don’t know. I’m throwing, I’m throwing off the mound. I feel good. I feel really good. It’s just a matter of building up pitches and being able to compete in the big leagues. That’s kind of what we’re evaluating now. That’s it. But I’m feeling healthy and feeling good.”
Manager Terry Collins said it’s “a possibility” that Matz will be ready to make a start on Friday, though some hurdles remain. For instance, Collins wants Matz to throw his Wednesday bullpen session at Citi Field for pitching coach Dan Warthen.
Even if Matz is ready to go, he’ll be limited to 50 pitches tops in any start. Even in a best-case scenario, Collins said Matz might be capped at 85 pitches if he makes a postseason start, which he called “a long shot.”
“I talked with him down there and he’s not ready to go real far,” Collins said. “So we need to make sure that we’re not just taking a shot in the dark here and starting a guy we can only get two innings out of. We’ll see where he’s at when he comes for his side on Wednesday.”With Marc Carig