Matz set for Class A rehab start Saturday

Alderson says left-hander could return to big leagues by Sept. 1

Matz set for Class A rehab start Saturday

NEW YORK -- Mets left-hander Steven Matz, whose two-start run earlier this season was as electric as it was brief, is tentatively scheduled to begin a rehab assignment Saturday for Class A St. Lucie. If all goes well, general manager Sandy Alderson said, Matz should return to the big leagues "on or around the first of September."

Matz, 24, has been on the disabled list since July 10 with a partial tear of his left lat muscle. He recently began throwing off flat ground, with plans to do so from a mound for the first time this week.

The Mets expect their top-ranked prospect to throw approximately 25 pitches in Saturday's start, and build up from there. Once Matz does return, almost certainly after rosters expand in September, the team will consider moving back to a six-man rotation for the stretch run.

Between then and now, the Mets have tentative plans to use a spot starter on their next road trip through Baltimore, Denver and Philadelphia. Dillon Gee and Logan Verrett remain the primary candidates for that job, as the Mets look to slow the rapidly-escalating innings totals of young starters Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard.

Matz burst into the Majors with 7 2/3 strong innings June 28 against the Reds. Despite feeling some lat soreness following that start, Matz pitched seven days later in Los Angeles and delivered six shutout innings. After that outing, he underwent the MRI that revealed his lat tear.

Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.