New York Mets right fielder Jay Bruce (19) reacts after popping out during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Minnesota Twins, Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
Julie Jacobson
September 19, 2016

NEW YORK (AP) Slumping outfielder Jay Bruce was out of the New York Mets' starting lineup for the second straight game.

Acquired by the Mets from Cincinnati at the Aug. 1 trade deadline, Bruce pinch hit and flied out in Monday night's 7-3 loss to against Atlanta. A 3-for-34 slide has left him with a .180 batting average, four homers and 11 RBIs in 38 games with New York.

''We just told Jay yesterday, look, we're going to get you out of here. Just back off for a couple of days, catch your break and get back in there,'' manager Terry Collins said.

Collins compared the respite to his late-July decision to give a few days off to second baseman Neil Walker, who was in a 9-for-58 (.155) slide. Walker rebounded to hit .426 (40 for 94) over the next month before a back injury that required season-ending surgery.

Collins also said left-hander Steven Matz, who has not pitched since Aug. 14 because of shoulder tightness, may throw a Wednesday bullpen session in New York rather than at the team's spring training complex in Port St. Lucie, Florida.

Matz could rejoin the rotation later this week. He would be limited to 40-50 pitches.

''He's not ready to go real far, so we need to make sure we're not just taking a short in the dark here and starting a guy that we can get only get two innings out of,'' Collins said.

Matz would follow Noah Syndergaard, who is lined up to pitch Saturday and Sept. 30 at Philadelphia, which would put him on track to start the NL wild-card game on Oct. 5 with normal four days' rest.

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