After a week of relative silence, the Mets opened up the books on their legion of injured on Monday. General manager Sandy Alderson confirmed that Steven Matz and Seth Lugo likely will return to the club after one more rehab start and that Yoenis Cespedes could be back as soon as a week from now.
In what certifiably could be called good news, Alderson said Matz and Lugo will be added to the starting rotation if everything checks out after their next minor-league starts, an effort to stretch them beyond the 80-something pitches they’ve reached in rehab assignments. They’ll be shooting for about 90, he said, similar to their major-league workload.
“Steven pitched extremely well [Sunday] based on the statistics, as you’re aware, as well as observations there,” Alderson said of Matz (elbow) who threw five perfect innings with eight strikeouts for Triple-A Las Vegas. Lugo (elbow) allowed three runs, eight hits and two walks with seven strikeouts in six innings for Double-A Binghamton on Sunday.
Alderson said Robert Gsellman probably will be sent to the bullpen. “I think he can help us there,” Alderson said of the righthander, who improved to 3-3 on Monday after allowing two runs in seven innings in the Mets’ 4-2 win over the Brewers.
After a media relations member ended Alderson’s news conference, the GM said: “With a 5 ERA in the bullpen, a lot of people can help us there.”
Terry Collins said that if doctors say Lugo is good to go, there likely will be no restrictions on the righty, who — much like Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka — will have to pitch with a partial tear in his UCL.
“If he’s deemed eligible to pitch, we’re going to just run him out there,” he said. “A lot of guys have pitched a long time with a slight tear in their UCL . . . I don’t mean to compare him to anybody, but it can be done.”
Meanwhile, Alderson is eyeing a June 6-7 series in Texas as a possible return for Cespedes, although he cautioned that this date is “conjecture.” The Mets will be able to use a DH in that series, making a perfect soft introduction for Cespedes, who went down with a hamstring injury April 28. The hamstring was progressing nicely, Alderson said, before Cespedes injured his right quadriceps during a rehab game Friday. It’s the same quadriceps that caused him to miss half of August last year.
“We want to make sure that quad issue is resolved before we move to another step,” said Alderson, who said he hopes for a return in a week to 10 days.
Alderson said that David Wright, who has missed all of this season with a shoulder impingement after undergoing neck surgery last June and also is battling spinal stenosis, could resume baseball activities soon. “I’m definitely hopeful he’ll play this year,” he said . . . Jeurys Familia, who underwent surgery on an arterial blood clot in his right shoulder May 12, said he’ll see a doctor in two weeks to find out when he can resume throwing. He said he believes he could be able to start throwing in a month and “I think I’ll be back this year.”