NEW YORK -- Not far from the commotion that Tim Tebow brought Monday to Port St. Lucie, Fla., Steven Matz quietly put in his work on a back field. The Mets are hopeful that Matz, who has not pitched since Aug. 14 due to an impingement in his left shoulder, can return to start Friday against the Phillies.
That much, however, is no guarantee. The Mets are tentatively planning to fly Matz back to New York, where he can throw a bullpen session Wednesday in front of pitching coach Dan Warthen. If all goes well, Matz can then slot into the rotation on Friday, even if the Mets are not confident he could give them any sort of length.
"The team's playing great up there right now," Matz said after completing his final workout Tuesday in Port St. Lucie. "I'm just going to go up there and try to help them as best I can."
If Matz cannot pitch, Gabriel Ynoa would be the logical candidate to start Friday. Ynoa gave the Mets 4 2/3 innings of one-run ball in his first career start Sunday against the Twins.
"[Matz] is not ready to go real far, so we need to make sure that we're not just taking a shot in the dark here, and starting a guy that we can only get two innings out of," manager Terry Collins said. "So we'll see where he's at when he comes with his side on Wednesday and see what develops from that."
With Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom both done for the season, Matz, who is 9-8 with a 3.40 ERA in 22 starts, would be one of the Mets' three most qualified options for the postseason rotation. But his health may limit the team's ability to use him; even if Matz does return Friday, Collins estimated he would only be stretched out enough to throw 85 pitches in a potential National League Division Series start.
As such, Collins said it's "a long shot" Matz would serve as a starting pitcher in the NLDS, if the Mets make it that far.
"I'm excited to be back with the team for sure," Matz said. "These guys have worked hard to get me back. They put in the work. I'll just try to help the team when I'm up there."
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.