PHILADELPHIA -- Steven Matz's upper back soreness has diminished enough for the Mets to pencil him in for an appearance this weekend against the Nationals at Citi Field. The Mets hope that Matz, their No. 1 prospect, can pitch approximately five innings out of the bullpen Saturday or Sunday in tandem with one of their other starting pitchers, who will be limited in their final turn through the rotation.
The Mets twice pushed Matz back earlier this week due to back stiffness, moving his originally scheduled start from Wednesday to Thursday before scrapping it altogether.
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Even if Matz does pitch this weekend, however, the Mets will watch him carefully. They are wary of naming him to their National League Division Series rotation and then having to remove him, which would make him ineligible for the NL Championship Series as well. If Matz cannot start, Bartolo Colon will take his rotation spot.
Matz, who missed two months earlier this season with a strained left lat muscle, is 4-0 with a 2.27 ERA in six career starts.
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.