Cespedes, Matz return for Mets' doubleheader vs. Braves (Jun 10, 2017)
ATLANTA -- Outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, sidelined since April 28, will rejoin the New York lineup on Saturday, giving the Mets three players returning from injuries this weekend.
Left-hander Steven Matz will start the second game of the split doubleheader against the Atlanta Braves and right-hander Seth Lugo will pitch on Sunday in the series finale at SunTrust Park.
Cespedes, sidelined by a strained right hamstring, will be activated as the extra 26th man and start one of the doubleheader games, manager Terry Collins said Friday. The Mets don't have to clear a roster spot until Sunday.
Cespedes was hitting .270 with six homers and 10 RBIs in 18 games when injured. He batted .280 with 31 homers and 86 RBIs in 132 games last year.
"He's one of the best players in baseball," Collins said. "He's hard to replace. We've been very, very fortunate that (Michael Conforto) played so well."
The return gives the Mets four regular outfielders and Collins said that he will juggle playing time between Cespedes, Conforto, Jay Bruce and Curtis Granderson.
"Right now we'll be a little careful with Cespedes," Collins said. "We'll work him back in."
Cespedes had a setback in his rehab about two weeks ago, but got through a minor league game in Florida on Thursday without issue
"He accumulated a lot of at-bats even though he wasn't in a lot of games," Collins said. "We think he's ready."
The Mets feel the same way about Matz. They will find out Saturday.
"I'm feeling good," said Matz, who has dealt with shoulder problems and had bone chips removed from his elbow. "I got 90 pitches in my last (rehab) start and I'm feeling healthy."
Matz, a second-round draft pick by the Mets in 2009, pitched in four minor league games -- the last three in Triple-A -- and had a 6.05 ERA with 20 strikeouts to four walks in 16 1/3 innings.
After going 4-0 with a 2.27 ERA in six starts for the Mets in 2015, Matz was 9-8 with a 3.40 ERA in 22 games last season before being shut down in August. He is 3-0 with a 3.38 ERA in five career games against the Braves.
Left-hander Sean Newcomb, the key return for the Braves in the trade of shortstop Andrelton Simmons to the Los Angeles Angels two years ago, will make his major league debut in the first game of the doubleheader against right-hander Robert Gsellman (4-3, 5.53 ERA).
"It's exciting to watch young guys, how they respond," Braves manager Brian Snitker said.
Newcomb isn't just any 'young guy' making his way to Atlanta. The 23-year-old was a former first-round pick of the Angels and is considered the most advanced of the Braves' stockpile of pitching prospects.
In 11 starts with Triple-A Gwinnett, Newcomb was 3-3 with a 2.97 ERA and struck out 74 in 52 1/3 innings. The only negative was his 33 walks and high pitch counts.
Newcomb, who turns 24 on Monday, made a favorable impression during spring training despite his control issues.
"His last start before we sent him down, it was kind of like, 'This is what everybody's talking about,'" Snitker said.
Right-hander Matt Wisler (0-0, 7.00 ERA) will be added as the Braves' extra 26th man to start the second game against Matz.
He is 1-4 with 5.01 ERA in seven starts for Gwinnett and made six relief appearances covering nine innings earlier this season with Atlanta.
Wisler, 24, was 15-21 with a 4.88 ERA in 47 games for the Braves the two previous seasons.
Atlanta needs two new starters for the doubleheader because struggling veteran Bartolo Colon went on the disabled list Tuesday with a strained oblique.