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Sat, Jul 13, 2013 - 7:15 PM ET
 

Mets-Pirates Preview

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The New York Mets are claiming a blister and an innings limit are why they're skipping Matt Harvey's turn in the rotation.

Potentially starting next week's All-Star game might be another reason.

While the young ace rests ahead of the Mid-Summer Classic, the Mets will give Carlos Torres his first start in almost three years Saturday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Harvey has been a revelation in his first full season in the majors, going 7-2 with a 2.35 ERA and a league-leading 147 strikeouts. His emergence landed him on the NL roster for Tuesday's All-Star game at Citi Field, and he's in contention to be named the starter.

Still, Mets manager Terry Collins claims there are other factors involved in skipping the 24-year-old right-hander's scheduled start against Pittsburgh (55-36).

"No. 1, he's thrown 130 innings and he's going to be limited this summer," Collins said. "Part of the reason is also his blister issue.

"We need to back him off and now is a good time. If he pitches in the All-Star game he'll be ready for it."

Collins is hoping Torres (0-1, 0.51 ERA) is ready for his first start since Aug. 3, 2010, as a member of the Chicago White Sox.

The right-hander was already inserted in the rotation earlier this week after Shaun Marcum was lost for the season due to Thoracic Outlet syndrome.

Torres compiled a 1.67 ERA while winning his last five starts at Triple-A Las Vegas before being recalled June 15. His latest appearance for the Mets came in the final two innings of Tuesday's 10-6 win at San Francisco, yielding an unearned run and four hits.

That victory was part of New York's four-game winning streak, which ended with Friday's 3-2, 11-inning loss to Pittsburgh in the opener of this three-game set.

David Wright, the Mets' only other representative for the All-Star game, is batting .347 during a 12-game hitting streak after getting a single, double and an RBI on Friday. The third baseman is batting .361 over his last nine games at PNC Park, but he's 3 for 18 with eight strikeouts against A.J. Burnett, the Pirates' scheduled starter.

Burnett (4-6, 3.05) will try to pitch Pittsburgh to its first five-game win streak against the Mets since 1998.

The right-hander was sharp in his return from the disabled list Sunday, allowing two runs - one earned - and three hits in five innings of a 4-3 loss in 11 to the Cubs.

"There was nothing not to like," manager Clint Hurdle told the team's official website. "The ball came out of his hand very crisply, efficiently. He was throwing a big curve from a couple of different angles."

Burnett has a 1.33 ERA while winning three straight starts against the Mets, but all those appearances came for the New York Yankees.

Pittsburgh's Starling Marte is batting .346 with 14 runs and six stolen bases over the past 16 games, with 13 of his 27 hits in that span going for extra bases. He's 7 for 16 over his last four meetings with the Mets.

Pedro Alvarez is also 7 for 16 in four games versus New York, hitting two homers and driving in six. His two-run shot Friday was his fourth homer in nine games, and he's hitting .342 with nine RBIs over that stretch.

Tagged: Mets, Pirates, A.J. Burnett, Carlos Torres

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