Mets’ Steven Matz staying ready for time when baseball returns

Mets’ Steven Matz staying ready for time when baseball returns

There was no baseball on Thursday, when the Mets had been scheduled to open their season against the Nationals at Citi Field.

But Steven Matz still wanted a bit of normalcy, so he played catch near his Nashville, Tenn., home with teammate Brad Brach.

Beyond the left-hander’s usual routine, which he has kept up since going home from Port St. Lucie following the cancellation of spring training because of the coronavirus pandemic, Matz said he didn’t spend much time thinking about what should have been the start of the 2020 season.

“I did think about it being Opening Day, but we’re so entrenched in what’s going on with the news, it’s hard to put too much emphasis on baseball,’’ Matz said Friday by phone. “I try to be optimistic, be smart and take the right actions to stay healthy.’’

While he’s in Nashville, Matz has kept a close eye on his native New York because his parents and grandparents still live on Long Island.

Steven Matz
Steven MatzAnthony J. Causi

“We’ve got stores and places shut down here, but I’m really monitoring what’s going on in New York with all my family there,’’ Matz said.

Matz started his Tru32 initiative in 2015 to honor first responders and members of the NYPD, FDNY and military.

“More than anything, this time makes you realize the importance of first responders and now the medical personnel that are putting themselves in danger,’’ Matz said. “It’s why I support the causes I do.’’

He hopes to be able to continue to spotlight them when baseball resumes — something he’s still preparing for.

“I’m excited to get back out there, hopefully soon,’’ Matz said. “It’s been a while since I’ve been home when things start turning green. It’s a weird time and you just think about how much so many people are going through.”

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Matz added he would need “a couple of starts” before being ready to pitch in regular-season games.

“My mindset coming into this thing when I came home [from spring training] has been to be ready for whenever the season starts,’’ Matz said. “I’ve kept the volume up with my throwing and am throwing every day like I would in the season. I’ve continued to lift.’’

Matz noted he usually feels better on the mound in June than he does in April, so he’s throwing bullpen sessions twice a week.

“I don’t want to back off,’’ Matz said. “I’m hopeful we’ll get going at some point. Coaches and training staff check in on us for our health and with what we’re doing. … Guys, I think, are keeping themselves ready. We just want to play games and get back.’’

New pitching coach Jeremy Hefner is among those checking in regularly.

“It’s hard to know what the season will look like,’’ Matz said. “There are so many variables. For now, it’s time for people to come together with their families. When we get back to playing, we’ll appreciate it and realize how big a part of our world sports and entertainment are.’’

Source : Dan Martin Link

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