PITTSBURGH — Steven Matz certainly put himself back on the radar Sunday. The lefthander, who has been dealing with elbow discomfort since the last week of spring training, threw five perfect innings for Triple-A Las Vegas. Matz struck out eight in what was his third rehab start.
He threw 73 pitches, 50 for strikes.
It was an impressive stat line, considering it was in a launching-pad of a ballpark in Las Vegas, Terry Collins said.
“A day game in Vegas? You better believe it. Five innings. Five perfect innings in Las Vegas,” the Mets’ manager said. “I have played a lot of games in Las Vegas. I am not sure I have ever seen that.”
But Collins said he was not sure if that means Matz, who has dealt with a long list of injuries throughout his career, would be back soon.
The Mets could use the infusion of talent.
With Noah Syndergaard on the disabled list until at least July and Matz and Seth Lugo beginning the season on the DL, they have been forced to keep a struggling Robert Gsellman in the rotation and are looking for a spot starter on Tuesday. Tommy Milone, whom they signed as a stop gap after Syndergaard went down, is now also on the DL.
As of Sunday night, the Mets seemed to be leaning toward starting Tyler Pill over lefty reliever Josh Smoker.
“If we have to use him tonight, probably not, but right now he’s the one guy who started,” Collins said. “I know Smoker has had a couple of starts. Tyler Pill is lengthened out a lot farther.”
Lugo, the righty who is trying to avoid Tommy John surgery through therapy and throwing after being diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament, also pitched Sunday. He allowed three runs on eight hits with seven strikeouts and two walks through six innings. Lugo threw 79 pitches, 55 for strikes.
It was also Lugo’s third rehab start.