WASHINGTON — Of the Mets’ recuperating lefthanded starting pitchers, Steven Matz declared himself physically ready to return, but Jason Vargas isn’t yet.
Matz said Wednesday he was “really happy” after tossing a 45-pitch bullpen session Tuesday, seemingly over the radial nerve discomfort in his left forearm. The Mets haven’t named him their starter Saturday against the Marlins, but Matz said he would be surprised if the team didn’t activate him.
“Ready to roll for whatever’s next,” he said.
Matz was particularly pleased with his ability to throw comfortable curveballs during his side session. That had been a problem the past couple of weeks as Matz dealt with the nerve issue.
“Going into [the bullpen], it was like, ‘I don’t want to be gun shy on any of my pitches. Just throw it like I’m getting ready for the game,’ ” Matz said. “That’s how we really test it, to make sure I’m ready. That’s what I was able to do and I’m happy with how I felt.”
Vargas, meanwhile, needs a minor-league rehabilitation assignment before returning from his left hamstring issue. He will start Sunday for Double-A Binghamton.
That leaves the Mets needing a starter for Monday, at home against the Nationals, and it’s not certain Wilmer Font will get another shot after getting rocked by Washington this week. Manager Mickey Callaway specifically mentioned Drew Gagnon as an option after he pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings of relief behind Font, though the Mets have liked Gagnon in that bullpen role.
“We’ll continue to discuss if he gets a start or not, but I really like the way he’s been throwing out of the bullpen for us,” Callaway said of Gagnon. “He has the ability to bounce back. He can get loose on several occasions, he’s done this in the past and he’s throwing the ball well in this role.”