WASHINGTON — For Trevor May, the best part of being back and healthy again for maybe the first time all season is simple: He is able to think about pitching — not the pain in his right arm — when he is on the mound.
“When you’re not thinking about how your arm feels, it feels good,” May said. “If I’m not fully focused on getting a guy out and I’m half-focused on if this (pitch) is not going to feel very good or not, it’s really, really hard to compete at any level, let alone the big leagues.”
May tossed a scoreless inning in a 9-5 win over the Nationals on Wednesday, his return after a three-month stay on the injured list with a right humerus stress reaction. He blamed that issue for much of his struggles in the first month of the season (8.64 ERA), but manager Buck Showalter said he hopes May will return to his role as a high-leverage setup man.
Part of May’s work while away: He wants to throw his changeup, which he had dumped pre-injury, a lot more. He leaned on it Wednesday.
“Frankly, my MO is guys are just going to be waiting for the fastball. I’m going to pitch a little bit more,” he said. “The fastball is always going to be a big part of what I do, but I decided to go with the hot hand (changeup) today and it felt good.”
Plan for McCann
The Mets intend to activate James McCann from the IL on Thursday — and then play him only every other day “initially from what our people are telling me,” Showalter said. McCann missed less than four weeks with a strained left oblique.
Tomas Nido started Wednesday for the 10th time in 11 games since the All-Star break. Showalter said he has been “great,” “solid” and “a real contributor.”
“He’s actually swinging the bat a little a bit better,” Showalter said. “He’s posting up and bringing something.”
Nido is hitting .250 (7-for-28) with three extra-base hits (all doubles) the past two weeks.
As the rotation turns
The Mets’ five-game series with Atlanta will include, naturally, most of both teams’ best pitchers.
Carlos Carrasco will face Kyle Wright on Thursday, followed by Taijuan Walker against Ian Anderson on Friday. Handling the Saturday doubleheader will be David Peterson and Max Scherzer (in some order) for the Mets and Jake Odorizzi and Max Fried (also in some order) for Atlanta.
The finale Sunday features two of the hardest-throwing starters in baseball: Jacob deGrom (99.2-mph fastball average) and Spencer Strider (98.2).
The Mets optioned relievers Yoan Lopez and Stephen Nogosek to Triple-A Syracuse to make room for May and Mychal Givens. They also designated infielder Kramer Robertson for assignment to clear a spot for Darin Ruf . . . DeGrom played catch at Nationals Park, a strong indication that he came out of his season debut Tuesday feeling fine . . . The Nats held a moment of silence for legendary baseball broadcaster Vin Scully, who tied Tuesday, before the game.