NEW YORK — Steven Matz is tentatively scheduled to return to the New York Mets’ injury-ravaged rotation Friday night.
The left-hander threw a bullpen Wednesday at Citi Field, and manager Terry Collins said he is confident Matz will be able to start against Philadelphia. But before committing to him, the team will wait to see how Matz feels Thursday.
If he does take the ball, the rookie will likely be limited to around 50-60 pitches.
“He hasn’t pitched in a month, so we’ve got to be very careful with how we approach it,” Collins said.
Right-hander Gabriel Ynoa would be in line to follow Matz against the Phillies. Ynoa made his first major league start Sunday versus Minnesota, allowing one run and striking out eight in 4 2/3 innings.
Matz has not pitched since Aug. 14 because of tightness in his left shoulder. He initially was penciled in to return Sept. 1, but was scratched after feeling discomfort when playing catch a day after he threw off a mound.
Matz had been pitching with a bone spur in his elbow before going on the disabled list last month. He is 9-8 with a 3.40 ERA in 22 starts this season for the Mets, tied with San Francisco and St. Louis for the two NL wild cards.
In another injury update, New York starter Jacob deGrom had surgery Wednesday to reposition the ulnar nerve in his right elbow and is expected to be ready for spring training next year, the team said.
Right-hander Matt Harvey also is out for the season following surgery to address thoracic outlet syndrome, and Zack Wheeler never made it back this year from Tommy John surgery in March 2015.
Collins indicated he is very concerned about infielder Wilmer Flores, who remained out of the lineup with a sore right wrist.
Flores has not played since Sept. 10, when he was injured in a home-plate collision at Atlanta. He’s received two injections, the second one on Monday, but still was unable to swing a bat Wednesday, according to Collins.
Productive rookie T.J. Rivera started at second base again Wednesday night during a 4-3 loss to Atlanta.
Flores is not expected back in time to play Thursday night against Philadelphia lefty Adam Morgan — a major disappointment for the Mets. Flores is hitting .340 with 11 home runs in 100 at-bats vs. left-handers this season, including .393 with 25 RBIs in his last 61 at-bats. His .710 slugging percentage against southpaws is the best mark in the majors among players with at least 85 at-bats.
Not to mention, Flores hit a grand slam off Morgan on Aug. 26.
BRUCE ON THE BENCH
Slumping right fielder Jay Bruce was left out of the starting lineup for the third time in four games, one night after the three-time All-Star was pulled for a pinch hitter in a crucial situation.
That move came with a left-handed reliever on the mound. This time, the left-handed-hitting Bruce was benched with rookie right-hander Ryan Weber starting for the Braves. Alejandro De Aza played center field, bumping Curtis Granderson back to right.
Bruce struck out as a pinch hitter in the ninth inning. Before the game, he had little reaction to Collins’ decision to sit him.
“The results are just not there, and this is a results game,” Bruce said. “I still plan on being a big part of this hunt for the World Series here. This is just a blip.”
Acquired from Cincinnati at the Aug. 1 trade deadline, Bruce is batting only .175 with four homers and 11 RBIs in 41 games with the Mets. He is hitless in his last 13 at-bats and stuck in a 3-for-39 slide. Yet his 29 home runs and 91 RBIs still ranked 10th in the NL in both categories.
“Obviously, no one likes being booed,” Bruce said. “But I understand that they’re passionate. They expect a certain level of execution and performance out of me.”