Jenrry Mejia may start April 4 against the Reds, with Daisuke Matsuzaka starting two days later should Jonathon Niese be unable.MONTREAL -- Terry Collins says Jenrry Mejia may very well start next Friday at Citi Field against the Cincinnati Reds, with Daisuke Matsuzaka held back for a potential start two days later should Jonathon Niese be unable to come off the disabled list that day.
Rather than have Mejia and Matsuzaka on the Opening Day roster, the Mets will instead carry only four starting pitchers to begin the season, allowing them to have an extra bench player (Andrew Brown) for five games.
The Mets cannot hold back Mejia for the April 6 start in place of Niese because he is on the 40-man roster. Once Mejia is optioned to the minors on the eve of Opening Day he must spend the first 10 days of the season there. Matsuzaka, on a minor-league contract, can be held back for that potential April 6 start.
Niese (elb0w) tossed 4 1/3 trouble-free innings Thursday in Port St. Lucie, Fla., against St. Louis Cardinals minor leaguers. Collins said the report is that Niese "feels good" a day later, too.
Still, the manager said the Mets very well may hold back Matsuzaka for that April 6 start just in case. The Mets will not be comfortable Niese will be able to go that day until the southpaw makes one more minor-league start. That outing is scheduled for Tuesday, two days after the Opening Day roster must be set. And for that reason, Collins suggested, Mejia starting next Friday against the Reds while Matsuzaka is held back is a viable plan.
At that point, if Niese is able to face Cincinnati, then the Mets can always option Mejia to the minors and add Matsuzaka to the roster and rotation.