Thumb on the mend, Bartolo on track for start

Mets expect veteran pitcher to work as scheduled on Sunday

Thumb on the mend, Bartolo on track for start

NEW YORK -- A day after a comebacker struck Bartolo Colon on the right hand, knocking him out of Tuesday's 2-1 win over the Royals in the first inning, the swelling in Colon's thumb had lessened significantly. It was enough for the Mets to pencil Colon in for his scheduled start Sunday in Atlanta.

"He's doing fine," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "He's got a little swelling left, but good flexibility, good strength. Right now, we're certainly planning on having him start on Sunday."

The Mets did, however, make a move to protect themselves after using five relievers Tuesday in place of Colon. The club recalled right-hander Logan Verrett from Triple-A Las Vegas, optioning infielder Ty Kelly to Vegas. With that move, the Mets will proceed with an extra man in their bullpen for the time being.

"We're obviously in a little need of some pitching right now, so we need to be protected," Collins said. "And really, as good as Bartolo feels, we've got to be protected on Sunday also."

Verrett, 26, owns a 4.02 ERA in 19 appearances, bouncing multiple times between Las Vegas and the big leagues, and the bullpen and rotation. He will be available immediately for a Mets team that was without long man Sean Gilmartin on Tuesday, leaning instead on Hansel Robles for 3 2/3 innings and Erik Goeddel for two. Colon himself could potentially be available in relief this week, though Collins indicated he would be hesitant to make such a move barring an emergency.

On Wednesday morning, Collins was elated simply to have avoided a disabled list stint for Colon. Particularly given Zack Wheeler's recent setback in his Tommy John surgery rehab, the Mets need Colon, who is 6-3 with a 3.00 ERA, to continue giving them consistent innings.

"We dodged a big one," Collins said. "Obviously with the situation with Zack, which looks like it's going to be delayed a little bit longer than we anticipated … Bartolo eats up innings. And they're quality innings. If we had lost him, we could have been in big trouble."

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. 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.