PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Gone were the aches and pains Steven Matz has felt in years past, the elbow and shoulder issues that have forced him off the mound. Feeling healthy and strong, Matz jogged onto First Data Field on Tuesday for his Grapefruit League debut … and departed
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Gone were the aches and pains Steven Matz has felt in years past, the elbow and shoulder issues that have forced him off the mound. Feeling healthy and strong, Matz jogged onto First Data Field on Tuesday for his Grapefruit League debut … and departed shortly thereafter in downtrodden spirits.
Following a perfect first inning against the Astros, Matz faced five batters in the second without recording an out. He walked in a run and allowed two others on a bases-loaded bloop single, then watched a pair of inherited runs score after he left the game. All told, Matz threw 36 pitches, recording just three outs in the Mets' 8-2 defeat.
The outing was Matz's first since undergoing surgery last August to reposition the ulnar nerve in his pitching arm -- a fact not lost on him despite the results.
"It's frustrating, but it's February," Matz said. "This is the best I've felt in Spring Training in a long time, just physically. I was real excited coming into camp, so that's the frustrating thing when you get results like that. But you've really got to overlook it at this point. It's really just about, I'm healthy. I've got to build off how I felt out there."
Another man down
Among the newcomers to the Mets' injury report was reliever Anthony Swarzak, who departed in the third inning Tuesday after tweaking his left calf covering first base. Swarzak plans to undergo an MRI on his leg, but he does not consider the injury serious.
"It wasn't a situation where I felt like I had to hit the deck and pray for the best," Swarzak said. "I'm walking. I'm standing here right now, and I think I'm going to be OK."
More injury updates
Far from the only ailing Met, Swarzak was instead one of many on a report also featuring Yoenis Cespedes, Jacob deGrom, Tim Tebow, Juan Lagares and Jay Bruce.
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Cespedes, who hit a long home run in his Grapefruit League debut Sunday, is day to day with a sore right shoulder and plans to return to the Mets' starting lineup Friday.
deGrom's back tightness was not serious enough to prevent him from participating in team drills, including a throwing program. The Mets have not yet scheduled deGrom to start a Grapefruit League game, wanting to be cautious after he took three days off for the birth of his daughter and felt back discomfort for the first time upon his return.
"We wanted to play it safe versus trying to push through something and hurting something more," deGrom said. "But after getting looked at … it's just how I'm feeling. And today I felt great."
More concerning was the news on Dominic Smith, whose MRI confirmed a strained right quadriceps. Smith will return to baseball activities as tolerated, though his absence from the first part of camp could hinder his chances of making the Opening Day roster.
"We've got a 22-year-old competing for a job with a potential Hall of Famer," Smith said, referring to fellow first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. "Whichever way it goes, I'm sure Mets fans or the team will be very happy."
The rest of the Mets' injuries are minor. Tebow recovered well enough from a sprained left ankle to make his Grapefruit League debut Tuesday, finishing 0-for-2 after entering the game in the sixth. Lagares remains day to day with a strained left hamstring and Bruce, who is suffering from plantar fasciitis, went 1-for-2 as a designated hitter. Bruce hopes to debut in right field as soon as Thursday.
"I'm not in any rush," Bruce said. "It's February, still."
No one on the Mets' roster bubble played Tuesday, but that will change Wednesday when Zack Wheeler makes his second Grapefruit League appearance.
Cap auction begins
The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School caps that Mets players wore and autographed last week went up for bid Tuesday at Mets.com/auctions. All proceeds from the auction will benefit the Broward Education Foundation's official victims fund.
There should be plenty of intrigue when Matt Harvey and Wheeler both pitch in the Mets' 1:05 p.m. ET game Wednesday against the Braves in Disney World (listen on MLB.TV). For Harvey, it will be his first start since a September run that saw him go 1-4 with an 11.28 ERA. For Wheeler, it will be another chance to prove he belongs in the Mets' Opening Day rotation.