Mets will begin season without Matz in rotation
Wheeler returns, will make first start since 2014 season.
Mets left-handed starter Steven Matz likely will be sidelined for more than a month thanks to his latest bout with elbow pain.
In his place, right-hander Zack Wheeler will step into the rotation after a long journey back from Tommy John surgery. His first big-league start since 2014 is scheduled for April 7 at Citi Field against the Marlins.
According to general manager Sandy Alderson, Matz’s follow-up MRI exam revealed no structural damage to his elbow. But doctors have recommended he doesn’t throw for three weeks.
Once he resumes throwing, Matz still must complete a throwing program, adding even more time to his absence. He also underwent a PRP injection, which is designed to promote healing.
Robert Gsellman will begin the season as the team’s No. 5 starter in place of Matz.
Manager Terry Collins also said center fielder Juan Lagares is going to the disabled list because of an oblique strain and outfielder Michael Conforto will be with the Mets on opening day.
Nationals: Blake Treinen will begin the season as Washington’s closer, even though he has only one bigleague
save. After the Nationals went through winter without landing a ninth-inning man and a spring training trying to figure out who would earn the role, manager Dusty Baker announced Thursday the 28-year-old Treinen won the job.
Tigers: The team released right-hander Mike Pelfrey, who was entering the second season of a $16 million, two-year deal. He went 4-10 with a 5.07 ERA last season with Detroit.
Yankees: Aaron Judge has won the right field job, and Luis Severino has earned the fourth spot in the starting rotation. Judge, 6-foot-7 and 282 pounds, has a .345 spring training average. Severino, 23, has tremendous promise but went just 3-8 with a 5.83 ERA in 11 starts and 11 relief appearances last year. Brewers: Starting pitcher Matt Garza went on the 10-day disabled list to the start the season because of a strained right groin. Chase Anderson will open the season in the rotation, joining an all right-handed starting five of Junior Guerra, Zach Davies, Wily Peralta and Jimmy Nelson.
Indians: Infielder Yandy Diaz has made the opening-day roster after he was expected to start the season in the minor leagues. Diaz, who batted .325 in 95 games at Triple-A Columbus last season, is considered one of Cleveland’s top prospects.
Twins: Slugger ByungHo Park was one of the team’s final roster cuts despite a strong performance at the plate throughout spring training as Minnesota went with a 13-man pitching staff. He hit .353 with a team-high six home runs and 13 RBIs in 19 spring games, by far the most impressive hitter in camp for the Twins.
Rangers: Rougned Odor and the team agreed to a new six-year contract that includes a club option for 2023 and guarantees the young second baseman at least $49.5 million.
Braves: Workers scurried around baseball’s newest stadium Thursday, screwing in a row of seats, stocking up the concession stands and hauling away construction debris. In the surest sign that the first pitch was just 24 hours away, they also watered down the infield. The team also held its initial workout at SunTrust Park, tuning up for an exhibition game tonight against the New York Yankees. The $622 million, 41,500-seat ballpark north of Atlanta appeared largely ready for a game that will serve as a tuneup for the regular season.
Steven Matz might miss more than one month with elbow pain.