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'Quarterrican' impresses Collins in DL return

Special to MLB.com

WASHINGTON -- Seth Lugo's return outing may have been brief and a bit uneven, but the Mets are happy that he got through it unscathed.

In his first start since his being placed on the disabled list with a right shoulder impingement, Lugo ("'Quarterrican") struck out five hitters in Sunday night's 5-4 loss to the Nationals in the second game of a doubleheader, allowing two runs over 3 2/3 innings. Mets manager Terry Collins removed the right-hander in the fourth after he reached 70 pitches.

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WASHINGTON -- Seth Lugo's return outing may have been brief and a bit uneven, but the Mets are happy that he got through it unscathed.

In his first start since his being placed on the disabled list with a right shoulder impingement, Lugo ("'Quarterrican") struck out five hitters in Sunday night's 5-4 loss to the Nationals in the second game of a doubleheader, allowing two runs over 3 2/3 innings. Mets manager Terry Collins removed the right-hander in the fourth after he reached 70 pitches.

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"I think he threw the ball great," Collins said. "Came out of his hand [well]. He was limited to a pitch count tonight, but I was very, very pleased with how he threw the ball. He said he felt great and those are all pluses."

Added Lugo: "I felt like I could have kept pitching, but there was a pitch count that [Collins] told me about. Smart way to go."

The Mets placed Lugo, 27, on the 10-day DL on Aug. 12, and had since used right hander Robert Gsellman in his place. But with Lugo activated, Gsellman was optioned back to Triple-A Las Vegas prior to Sunday's doubleheader. The Mets won the first game, 6-5.

Though Lugo hasn't performed at the same level he did in 2016, his manager feels the injury he sustained in Spring Training has altered the right-hander's arsenal.

"But he still knows how to pitch," Collins said before the Sunday's start. "He still uses his pitches and commands them and changes speeds, and I think that's what makes him effective.

Indeed, Lugo's fastball topped out in the low 90s in his return. Stuff aside, Lugo said he felt the shoulder impingement had no effect on him Sunday.

"I felt like I threw it real well," Lugo said. "I was hitting spots, had good life on my pitches, and I was pleased with it."

Lugo owns a 5-3 record on the year with a 4.85 ERA over 72 1/3 innings.

Daniel Shiferaw is a contributor for MLB.com based in Washington.

New York Mets, Robert Gsellman, Seth Lugo