By Zach Gewelb
Mets pitcher Steven Matz made his Spring Training debut Monday afternoon and did not disappoint. The lefty, making his first appearance in a competitive game against live hitters since undergoing surgery to remove a bone spur in his pitching elbow last year, tossed two scoreless innings in the Mets’ 8-2 win over Miami.
Matz allowed three hits and struck out one, but more importantly said he felt good after his 39-pitch performance.
“I definitely had some nerves going into it, since it had been so long since I’d been out there,” Matz told reporters. “It felt kind of awkward when I went out there, but once I started throwing it felt good.”
Matz induced three groundouts and two flyouts in addition to his one strikeout – which came against the first batter he faced.
While Matz was happy with his effort on the mound, the lefty was also pleased with his new pickoff move, which he debuted Monday. Matz had trouble holding runners last year, allowing 20 stolen bases — the second-most in the National League.
“It felt good today,” Matz told reporters. “I’m going to continue on with it, and I’m sure it will get more comfortable the more I do it. It’s all a feel thing. When you see how much guys run on you, you want to shut the running game down.”
Matz made 22 starts for the Mets last year before succumbing to his elbow injury and shoulder fatigue. The Long Island native pitched to a 9-8 record with a 3.40 ERA and 129 strikeouts in 132.1 innings pitched in 2016.
TIM TEBOW SET TO MAKE GRAPEFRUIT LEAGUE DEBUT WEDNESDAY
Mets’ prospect Tim Tebow will get a taste of the big leagues Wednesday when he will serve as the team’s designated hitter in a split-squad game against the Boston Red Sox.
Tebow will be in the starting lineup and battle against reigning American League Cy Young winner Rick Porcello.
“I don’t think he’s going to make our team,” Collins told reporters Monday. “But I think it’s great for the organization, it’s great for the fans. He’s a pretty famous guy and it will be fun to get him out there.”
Tebow began his baseball career in September after the Mets signed the high-profile former Heisman winner. The lefty-hitting outfielder reported to the instructional league and the Arizona Fall League, where he hit .194 in 70 plate appearances.