PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- By now, it's been well-established that left-hander Steven Matz intends to be in the Mets' rotation. Each time he takes the mound this spring, he has an added incentive to work quickly, efficiently and effectively, in an effort to show the club's decision-makers that he
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- By now, it's been well-established that left-hander Steven Matz intends to be in the Mets' rotation. Each time he takes the mound this spring, he has an added incentive to work quickly, efficiently and effectively, in an effort to show the club's decision-makers that he should be one of the starting five when camp breaks.
His performance on a blustery, windy day against the Nationals on Saturday further bolstered his candidacy. Thirty of the 44 pitches Matz threw over three perfect innings were strikes. He eliminated the wind factor by mostly confining the Nats to ground balls and strikeouts. He was so efficient that he followed the official portion of his outing with 15 more pitches in the bullpen.
"I feel really good with all my pitches," Matz said. "That's really important. I can go out and attack hitters and I can work on different stuff. I'm not trying to find my curveball or anything. I can mix in sequences and work on pitches that I want to work on, instead of trying to feel my pitches out there. I know I've got them."
Matz had quite a bit of rest between this outing and his prior one on Feb. 29, a scoreless one-hit outing vs. Houston. The lefty acknowledged that he probably benefitted from the six-day lull between starts.
"I felt really comfortable out there, and I felt sharp," he said. "That's a big step for me, and I'm excited to build off of that."
The Mets are in a seemingly enviable position with a surplus of starters for only five spots. Assuming Rick Porcello will be in the rotation, Matz's main competition appears to be Michael Wacha. The decision may come down to versatility, so an ability to also pitch out of the bullpen could be a factor. Though Matz has limited experience there, he could be viewed as a possible swingman/long reliever.
If the lefty’s final destination is determined solely by spring results, he has not done anything to diminish his candidacy.
"I feel like it's always good to see results," Matz said. "Spring Training's not really about results, because you don't throw certain stuff, you want to work on other stuff. But when you do get good results, you know the stuff you're working on is able to get hitters out. That's a positive."
Adams returns after 'scary' week off
Non-roster infielder Matt Adams said on Saturday that his recent week away from baseball activities was "the scariest week of my life," and he expressed appreciation to have peace of mind that he's fully healthy and can resume normal life.
Adams was scratched from a game against the Marlins on Feb. 27 to undergo cardiac testing. The veteran, speaking for the first time on the matter, declined to elaborate on the details of what alerted the medical staff that something might be wrong. He emphasized that he is fine and ready to play.
"I feel healthy and ready to go," Adams said. "I felt healthy before, too. It was just frustrating. I have that in my head, knowing there's nothing wrong. Now I can get back out there and do my thing."
Around the same time Adams was flagged for cardiac screening, teammate Brandon Nimmo also went through a series of tests for similar reasons. Nimmo has been given a clean bill of health as well.
It is unclear if the missed time will affect Adams' chances to make the team. He began Spring Training as a favorite to back up Pete Alonso at first base.
Despite the uncertainty, Adams is not going to spend the rest of camp worrying about it.
"I just have to go day by day," Adams said. "If I get too far ahead of myself then I'm not going to be where I want. I've been having really good days since I've been back and cleared to go. I can control what I can control and leave everything else up to the people that make the decisions.
"I know I'm healthy, and it's in the past."
• Outfielder Jeff McNeil, who has been sidelined with the flu, is feeling better and could play Sunday.
“He’s good,” manager Luis Rojas said after Saturday’s game. “He surprised me in the dugout. I didn't know he was behind me. He told me he's OK today. I’m glad he got through it in only one day. Some guys on the team, it's taken two days that they've had this flu. He might be in the lineup tomorrow.”
• J.D. Davis, who jammed his left shoulder on a play at third base last week, will most likely start in left field Sunday against the Astros, Rojas said.
It'll be a battle of veteran aces on Sunday, when the Astros and Mets face off at Clover Park. For the Mets, right-hander Noah Syndergaard is slated to make his third spring start. The Astros will counter with righty Justin Verlander. First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. ET. Fans can watch the game live on MLB.TV or listen with Gameday Audio.
Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter.