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Steven Matz to be sent back to New York for exam on shoulder

New York Mets starting pitcher Steven Matz walks

New York Mets starting pitcher Steven Matz walks to the dugout after being taken out against the San Diego Padres during the eighth inning of an MLB baseball game at Citi Field on Sunday, Aug. 14, 2016. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

SAN FRANCISCO — Mets lefty Steven Matz will return to New York and have his shoulder examined Monday. On Thursday night, he was scratched from Friday night’s start against the Giants.

Rookie Seth Lugo started in place of Matz, who felt what he described as a “twinge” in his shoulder while throwing curveballs after his last start Sunday. Both Matz and Terry Collins have downplayed the issue.

Monday’s scheduled day off would give the Mets a chance to skip fifth starter Jon Niese. But even with the Mets down an arm in Matz as they battle for a wild card, Collins said the team will remain in a five-man alignment to allow for extra rest.

Status unclear

Second baseman Neil Walker was not in the starting lineup for a third straight night, but for the first time since being sidelined with lower-back stiffness, he was available to pinch hit.

It’s a sign that Walker could be healthy enough to start Saturday if he’s not summoned to suburban Pittsburgh to be with his wife, Niki, for the birth of their first child.

Another chance

This time, Josh Smoker got to pitch. The Mets summoned the lefthander from Triple-A Las Vegas and demoted Josh Edgin. It is Smoker’s second promotion, but the first one lasted only about three innings. He was promoted for the back end of a July 27 doubleheader as the 26th man, arrived at Citi Field in time for the sixth and did not pitch.

“It’s going to be hard to control my emotions a little bit,” he said. “I’ve been through a lot.”

Smoker, 27, was a former first-round draft pick (31st overall, 2007, Nationals) who nearly left baseball when injuries ravaged his career.

Smoker, brought in to start the bottom of the eighth, allowed two hits in a third of an inning and was charged with two runs.

Visiting The Franchise

Tom Seaver received a National League championship ring Friday when he hosted a Mets delegation, including chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon, at his vineyard north of San Francisco.


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