Steven Matz threw for the second straight day today, including a few pitches from the mound, in an attempt to remain in play for a rotation spot at the start of the season. Matz was scratched from his scheduled start yesterday due to elbow discomfort. According to Mike Puma of the New York Post, Matz’s pitches were characterized by pitching coach Dan Warthen as “pretty decent.”
Matz has battled injuries an inordinate amount of times in his young career, and he had surgery over the offseason to remove bone spurs in his pitching elbow. Whether or not that surgery could be the cause of the discomfort is unknown at this point, but that has been mentioned as a possibility.
If Matz isn’t starting the season in Queens, the fifth spot in the Mets’ starting rotation—behind Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, and Robert Gsellman—would be likely filled by either Seth Lugo or Zack Wheeler. Wheeler pitched quite well on Monday, going five scoreless innings against the Marlins, and he hit 97 miles per hour on his fastball. Due to his innings limit, somewhere between 100 and 125 innings as he makes his long-awaited return from Tommy John surgery, Wheeler could begin the season in extended spring training in Port St. Lucie.
Lugo, fresh off a platinum blonde experience pitching for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic, made eight starts and nine relief appearances for the Mets in 2016, putting up a 2.67 ERA and striking out 45 in 64 innings.