PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Spring training results don’t matter. Steven Matz knows that, as do the Mets, who have long had the lefthander penciled into the starting rotation.
Nevertheless, Matz had grown tired of being torched in Grapefruit League games, a trend that he bucked with a strong outing Sunday.
“It’s nice to get some results during spring training,” said Matz, who allowed one run in 52⁄3 innings against the Nationals in a game that ended in a 4-4 tie. “You’re still out there working on stuff. That’s what this is for. But it’s nice to get some results.”
Matz walked four, struck out five and allowed a homer on a hanging curveball to Clint Robinson. But it was a step forward after he was touched for 11 runs in his previous three starts.
Manager Terry Collins said he was “very encouraged” with the outing, which came on the heels of a rough performance against the Yankees.
“You’ve got to leave here on a positive note,” Collins said. “And when you’re feeling good about yourself, it speaks a lot.”
Matz is lined up to pitch Friday in the second of two exhibition games against the Cubs in Las Vegas. Though he threw 91 pitches Sunday, Collins said his pitch count might be limited next time.
“A lot of times at the end of camp, you want to back them down as opposed to pushing them, so there’s a good chance you’ll see less,” he said.
Matz’s pitch count might reveal the Mets’ plans for the second game of the regular season. Jacob deGrom and his wife are expecting their first child, which might impact his availability, leaving Matz and Noah Syndergaard to fill in. The Mets have not ruled out piggybacking two starters that day, a tactic to keep their pitchers active because of three days off before the third game of the season.
n Extra bases
David Wright was 2-for-4 with a solo homer. Michael Conforto hit a two-run shot, allaying concerns about recent back spasms . . . Asdrubal Cabrera went 3-for-4 in a minor- league game and played four innings in the field. He’s expected to start Monday for the first time since suffering a knee injury March 10. Highly touted prospect Amed Rosario went 2-for-4 in Cabrera’s place . . . For the last several days, the Mets have been tailed by a Royals advance scout.