PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Steven Matz is heading back to New York, with plans of getting into the Mets’ postseason chase by the weekend.
The left-hander, who hasn’t pitched for the Mets since Aug. 14 because of tightness in his throwing shoulder, went through a long-toss workout at the team’s facility Tuesday. He planned to leave for New York later in the day, with expectations of throwing a bullpen at Citi Field on Wednesday.
If all goes well there, the Mets could start him Friday against Philadelphia.
“Feeling good and I’m ready to go,” he said.
Matz is 9-8 with a 3.40 ERA this season for New York, which entered Tuesday one game ahead of San Francisco and St. Louis in the NL wild-card race. Mets manager Terry Collins said Matz wouldn’t be expected to go very deep into a game whenever he returns, possibly limited to no more than 50 pitches.
“I don’t want to be surprised out there, feel like it’s spring training,” Matz said. “I want to be out there, ready to compete and help the team win.”
Being at the team’s minor league facility during a playoff race — Matz was on a field not far from where Tim Tebow was working out with instructional leaguers Tuesday morning — is something he went through last year as well, when he was dealing with a bone spur in his pitching elbow.
But when Matz returned last September, he went 2-0 with a 2.86 ERA in four starts. And while Matz acknowledged that being away from the team at this time of year was particularly tough and tested his patience, he insisted he’s ready and the shoulder feels fine.
“We’re in a pennant race here,” Matz said. “My main focus is on that.”