Matz impresses with Class AAA Las Vegas in third rehab start

Terry Collins discusses Michael Conforto and Yoenis Cespedes.

Matt Ehalt/NorthJersey.com

(Photo: Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)

PITTSBURGH — Starter Steven Matz (elbow) threw five perfect innings for Class AAA Las Vegas on Sunday. He struck out eight batters spanning 73 pitches.

The outing marked Matz’s third rehab start, and it’s possible he could return to the team toward the end of next week. He tossed 50 pitches for strikes.

"A day game in Vegas? You better believe (that’s encouraging)," Mets manager Terry Collins said before Sunday’s game against Pittsburgh. "Five perfect innings in Las Vegas. I played a lot of games in Las Vegas, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen that."

Seth Lugo (elbow) was slated to start for Class AA Binghamton on Sunday night, and he’s eligible to be activated off the disabled list Thursday.

Collins said he can’t focus on the guys who are sidelined.

"You worry about now, you worry about what you got today," Collins said. "You start dreaming and you are going to get your heart broke. Don’t worry about it."

No update

Collins did not have any further update on Yoenis Cespedes, who has been shut down after experiencing soreness in his right quad during his rehab game Friday.

Cespedes will not take live at-bats until Tuesday at the earliest.

Collins believes his lineup has done fine without Cespedes.

"He’s just a dynamic player and makes a big difference," Collins said. "Because we have experience, Jay Bruce has hit third or fourth in his career, Neil Walker has hit four, five, six, those guys have done those things. Jose (Reyes) is a leadoff hitter.

"You take any lineup and take one of the most dynamic players in the league out of it, it changes it. Hopefully we can get through this next period of time and continue to swing the bats well and he’ll be a huge addition when he’s ready to come back."

Day off

Michael Conforto did not start Sunday against the Brewers as Collins had been planning to get the outfielder a day off. He chose Sunday to have Conforto for Monday’s game.

Second baseman Neil Walker will not be in the lineup Monday.

Briefs

Robert Gsellman starts Monday’s series opener against Milwaukee and will look to build off a six-inning, three-run outing against the Padres last Wednesday. Gsellman did not dominate but believed he took a step forward. . …Collins said Zack Wheeler is OK for his next start after developing a blister on his middle right finger Saturday.

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