Mets will be ‘creative’ with pitching rotation during touch stretch


The Mets’ battered rotation received a break with five straight days off — four of which were unscheduled.

With the team set to resume play Tuesday with a doubleheader against the Marlins beginning a stretch of nine games in six days, general manager Brodie Van Wagenen said Monday the rotation is “a little ‘to be determined’ at this point.”

Due to the extended break, which effectively started Thursday when the Mets were notified of the positive COVID tests before their series finale in Miami, Van Wagenen said manager Luis Rojas and pitching coach Jeremy Hefner would use Monday’s workout at Citi Field to determine the best course of action. Not only to give the Mets the best shot of winning, but also to try to keep arms healthy and avoid the injuries that have plagued the sport in this abbreviated season.

Regardless of what they come up with, Van Wagenen said the team will have to be “creative.”

“Call it openers, call it bulk-inning pitchers, I have a feeling we’re going to be going through a number of different scenarios, not only this week with the number of games we have, but also as we head toward the rest of the regular season,’’ the GM said. “Because we have to treat each game as much of a must-win game as possible and that’s gonna require us calling on people maybe we haven’t called on before or maybe people to perform roles they haven’t done before.”

That’s where struggling lefty Steven Matz comes in.

“He may well need to be a starter that we count on, but I know he’s gonna be a pitcher that we’re gonna want to count on,’’ Van Wagenen said. “That’s something that won’t change. Our expectations are that we’ll try to keep him stretched out as much as possible to fill either role.”

The rotation should get a boost with the return of Michael Wacha (right shoulder inflammation) and David Peterson (right shoulder fatigue), who could both come off the injured list and add much-needed depth. Van Wagenen didn’t rule out the possibility that both could be activated for the next time through the rotation.

“I don’t know if it’s what our expectations are, but we’re hopeful,” the GM said.

The Mets are scheduled to have three doubleheaders during a six-day stretch beginning Tuesday and Van Wagenen called the new seven-inning format “a necessity” to aid player safety.

“I think all of us that have spent any time in baseball like the tradition of the game and feel there’s some value in having some consistency from year-to-year and game-to-game,’’ he said. “At the same point, I think we all recognized this season was going to be bringing new challenges and we’d have to look at things in different ways. … Now, as we look at it from a personal standpoint, I think it’s a necessity. Trying to cover so many games in so few days, it’s a challenge for everybody.”

Asked if he’d be in favor of a postseason bubble to limit travel during the playoffs, Van Wagenen said “it’s too early to tell for me.”

“I defer to Major League Baseball with what the best solutions are there,’’ Van Wagenen said. “I’m sure there’s a variety of factors. I have hope and confidence we’re gonna be able to get through this season and hope the Mets are part of the postseason tournament.”

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