Matz rebounds with best results of the spring

Matz rebounds with best results of the spring

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- The Mets maintained that they were not worried about left-hander Steven Matz, even as he scuffled through his first few Grapefruit League starts.

But still, manager Terry Collins considered it an encouraging sign to see Matz put together his best outing of the spring during Sunday's 4-4 tie with the Nationals. Matz held Washington to one hit and one run through 5 2/3 innings, with five strikeouts.

"Yeah, I think it definitely helps, getting good results," Matz said. "You kind of build off that instead of trying to find positives in bad results."

Entering Sunday's start, Matz had allowed 12 runs through his first 13 innings of the spring, with his ERA sitting at an unsightly 8.31. But he looked like a completely different pitcher Sunday.

Matz held the Nationals hitless through the first three innings, before he yielded a solo home run to first baseman Clint Robinson, who pulled a hanging slider down the left-field line. By the time Matz reached the sixth inning, he said he ran out of gas and issued a pair of walks -- two of his four on the day -- before his outing was over. It was his first time throwing more than 90 pitches, and it came on a warm afternoon, so Collins considered the results a positive.

"You have to leave here on a positive note," Collins said. "When you're feeling good about yourself, it speaks a lot. He had a bad outing last week against the Yankees, and you come back today, I think it helped out a lot. I was real happy with the way he threw."

Collins added that he was considering Matz as a possibility to pitch in the Mets' second game of the regular season against the Royals, either as a starter or out of the bullpen.

• Collins said he has noticed some diminished velocities from some of the Mets relievers, who he said could be experiencing some dead arm issues. While Collins said he was not overly concerned about it with a week to go before the season opener in Kansas City, he has been bothered by it during the past few days.

"We've still got a number of games to go," Collins said. "But again, it could be that there is that stage where, every camp in baseball, there is a stage where these guys are a little tired of throwing. They throw every day, play catch every day, and you give them a couple of days off and all of a sudden their arms can bounce back."

Jamal Collier is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.