BUFFALO — Steven Matz returned Sunday from the bout of bursitis in his left shoulder, and he was joined in the bullpen by a fellow newly minted long reliever: Michael Wacha.
The Mets removed Wacha from the starting five at least temporarily. Off days bookending their weekend set against the Blue Jays allow them to get by with a four-man rotation.
When they visit the Phillies for a series Tuesday-Thursday, the Mets will start Rick Porcello, Jacob deGrom and Seth Lugo in that order.
Wacha took in stride the news of his demotion, according to manager Luis Rojas.
"I know we're talking about Wacha, but they're all good about these conversations and how we're going to use them," Rojas said. "The guys, they want to get in there and help the team win games. It's the same response I got from Wacha when we talked about his usage out of the 'pen. He said, 'Sure. I'll be ready.’ That's all he said."
Rojas added, of Matz: "Looking forward to getting him in there. He’s actually in a good spot right now throwing the ball."
The Mets will need a fifth starter twice more this season, including Saturday against the Braves. Among the options: Matz, Wacha and Erasmo Ramirez. Rojas said the Mets are open to using an opener.
To make room for Matz coming off the injured list, the Mets optioned Drew Smith to the alternate training site.
Jake Marisnick said his right hamstring felt sore but mostly fine Sunday, a day after it forced him out of the game. But he is day-to-day and hopes to return during the Phillies series.
"I’m not too worried about it being a long-term thing," said Marisnick, who missed a month with a strained left hamstring this season.