deGrom to rejoin Mets rotation Sunday; Duda also returning
NEW YORK (AP) Some familiar faces are rejoining the New York Mets this weekend as they fight for a berth in the NL playoffs
Right-hander Jacob deGrom is scheduled to start Sunday's series finale against the Minnesota Twins in his first appearance since Sept. 1. First baseman Lucas Duda, who last played on May 20, is to be activated disabled list Saturday after recovering from a stress fracture in his lower back.
DeGrom, who had been bothered by right forearm soreness, will be limited to about 75 pitches. He threw a bullpen session Friday,
''We know how good he can be in the daytime,'' Mets manager Terry Collins said. ''We're hoping that we can get him back up to where if we get into the postseason he's a viable option for us. We think he's going to be fine, but we don't have a crystal ball to know what's going to happen here after he throws Sunday.''
Right-hander Noah Syndergaard will start Monday's series opener against Atlanta on five days' rest. Left-hander Steven Matz, who has not pitched since Aug. 14 because of shoulder tightness, is to throw a bullpen session Saturday.
New York leads St. Louis by two games for the NL's second wild card, and Collins said it is too early to make rotation decisions. Matt Harvey had season-ending surgery in July to address Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, and rookies Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman have joined Syndergaard and Bartolo Colon in the rotation.
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said in early August that he did not expect Duda to return this season. Duda has been taking batting practice and will be integrated slowly.
''We'll try to get him in there in the right circumstances, and, you know what, if we feel that he can help us in the lineup some time, we'll get him in there,'' Collins said.
In addition, outfielder Juan Lagares was activated from the disabled list ahead of Friday's series opener against the Twins. Lagares hasn't played since July 28 because of a torn ligament in his left thumb that required surgery. He plans to start swinging a bat next week and will be limited to a defensive replacement role, and Collins said having him bat during the regular season was a longshot.
''He gives us that option of a Gold Glover to come in late in the game and go play center field,'' Collins said. ''If we get him in the game for defense, we got to hit for him, we got to hit for him.''
Infielder Wimer Flores, out since a home-plate collision with Atlanta catcher A.J. Pierzynski Sept. 10, said he had an injection of painkiller in his right wrist Thursday and could return soon.
''It doesn't feel very good right now but hopefully the next couple days it will feel better,'' he said.