Mets will be­gin sea­son with­out Matz in ro­ta­tion

Wheeler re­turns, will make first start since 2014 sea­son.

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS - MLB NOTES Wire ser­vices

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.

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