The New York Mets have developed a strategy to prepare rookie starter Steven Matz for the postseason after he was forced to skip a start due to back discomfort.
Manager Terry Collins told reporters Thursday that Matz, who hasn't pitched since Sept. 24, will pitch approximately five innings of relief on either Saturday or Sunday.
Both right-handers Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard are scheduled for abbreviated outings on those days as they prepare to face the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS, beginning on Friday, Oct. 9.
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If Matz does well in his relief appearance, he may be considered as the Mets' Game 4 starter after Matt Harvey pitches Game 3 in the NLDS.
"The biggest thing is how [Matz] comes out of that game," Collins said.
Nonetheless, the Mets will do their due diligence and weigh their options for their postseason rotation, as they also have veteran righty Bartolo Colon as an eligible starter.
"We're looking at somebody who has come out and it's been an issue," Collins said of Matz's back injury. "I want to make sure if he goes and starts that he's going to be OK, because if he pitches in the first round [of the playoffs] and something happens, then we don't have him around in the second round. We have to do it the right way, and that's why I think he's got to go pitch."