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deGrom pushed to Saturday due to family issue

Cespedes remains in Port St. Lucie, Fla.; Wright makes trip to Miami
MLB.com @AnthonyDiComo

MIAMI -- Mere hours before Friday's game against the Marlins, the Mets scratched pitcher Jacob deGrom so that he could tend to a family matter. The Mets, who did not reveal the nature of deGrom's business, expect him to start on Saturday afternoon.

To replace deGrom on Friday night, the Mets turned to right-hander Corey Oswalt, the club's No. 14 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, who had been tentatively slated to pitch Saturday against the Marlins. The Mets also optioned reliever Gerson Bautista to Triple-A Las Vegas and shifted Seth Lugo from the rotation to the bullpen.

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MIAMI -- Mere hours before Friday's game against the Marlins, the Mets scratched pitcher Jacob deGrom so that he could tend to a family matter. The Mets, who did not reveal the nature of deGrom's business, expect him to start on Saturday afternoon.

To replace deGrom on Friday night, the Mets turned to right-hander Corey Oswalt, the club's No. 14 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, who had been tentatively slated to pitch Saturday against the Marlins. The Mets also optioned reliever Gerson Bautista to Triple-A Las Vegas and shifted Seth Lugo from the rotation to the bullpen.

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Oswalt, who made one relief appearance for the Mets earlier this year, is plenty rested because the Mets scratched his last start for Las Vegas in anticipation of a callup. He last pitched June 22.

Tweet from @Mets: Mickey Callaway announces that Corey Oswalt will start tonight, Jacob deGrom has to address family issues and will start tomorrow. #Mets pic.twitter.com/FLg8SduWSg

The flurry of moves may not do much to affect deGrom, who leads the Majors with a 1.69 ERA, but has significant implications on Lugo. One of the big leagues' best relievers before transitioning to the rotation to replace injured teammate Noah Syndergaard, Lugo entered Friday's play with a 2.27 ERA as a reliever, and a 3.52 mark as a starter. That includes a 6.23 ERA over his final three rotation turns.

"It caught me by surprise a little bit," Lugo said of the team's decision. "I was just starting to get into my rhythm, my routine, so it's a little frustrating."

Video: NYY@NYM: Lugo strikes out 8 over 6 strong frames

Mets manager Mickey Callaway said the Mets expect Jason Vargas, who has been sidelined since June 19 due to a right calf strain, to rejoin the rotation the next time they need a fifth starter -- no later than July 9, when they play a doubleheader against the Phillies, and perhaps sooner. The Mets are also hopeful that Syndergaard, who threw 31 pitches in a simulated game on Friday, can begin a Minor League rehab assignment next week in Port St. Lucie, Fla. That would put Syndergaard in line to return before the All-Star break, as well.

The progressions of those two mean Lugo wasn't likely long for the rotation, anyway.

"Obviously, you guys have seen that we've been struggling in our 'pen," Callaway said. "We think he's a good presence down there, a good option. We feel at this point, where we're at as a team, that we're a better team with Lugo out of the bullpen."

Slow going
After talking over the situation, the Mets scrapped their plan to have Yoenis Cespedes drive down from Port St. Lucie to spend the weekend with his teammates. Cespedes, who owns a ranch a short drive from the Mets' Spring Training complex, is attempting to rehab from a strained right hip flexor that has sidelined him since May 13.

"We thought it would probably hinder his ability and his rehab to come here for a couple days," Callaway said. "We're going to keep him there in Port St. Lucie to continue what we've been doing."

Although Callaway said Cespedes is "feeling a lot better" and experiencing "some improvement," he is doing little beyond treatment and physical therapy. Callaway stopped short of ruling out Cespedes' return before the All-Star break, but with barely two weeks between now and then, it seems unlikely that Cespedes can return in the first half.

"I think all along he's expressed frustration," Callaway said. "He did everything he possibly could this winter to stay healthy, and it didn't happen for him."

Remember me?
One injured Met who did make the trip to Miami is third baseman David Wright, who is taking daily ground balls and batting practice as he looks to return from back and shoulder injuries. When the Mets depart Miami on Sunday, Wright will drive north to Port St. Lucie to ramp up his rehab.

Although there is no timetable for Wright's return, playing this season no longer seems like as much of a long shot as it did in Spring Training.

"I guess it's more real than if he wasn't here," Callaway said. "Now that he's taking BP and stuff like that, it feels like he's closer."

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom