Prospect faces 1st batters since scare

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Matt Koch, the organization's third-round pick in 2012 out of Louisville, took a big step Saturday on a back field at the Mets' complex.

Adam Rubin

Matt Koch receives congratulations after facing batters Saturday.

Koch threw batting practice, marking his first time facing hitters since the 6-foot-3 right-hander was struck in the head with a line drive while pitching for low-A Savannah last Aug. 2. He was hospitalized for three days after the incident, suffering from bruising on the brain.

"Nice to finally face hitters again. It was too long of a wait," tweeted Koch (pronounced "Cook").

Koch, 23, went 6-4 with a 4.70 ERA in 18 appearances (15 starts) for Savannah before the season-ending injury last year.

This was the scene last Aug. 2 after Koch was struck ...