PHOENIX — There is an embarrassment of riches in the Mets starting rotation.
With a spot start from Trevor Williams on Saturday and Taijuan Walker’s impending return from the 10-day IL, Buck Showalter had to deliver the difficult news to David Peterson that he had been optioned to Triple-A Syracuse on the heels of Friday’s sterling start in Arizona.
But Showalter said that Peterson will not be gone long, and will start for the Mets as part of the team’s doubleheader against the Braves on May 3.
“He earned the right to be back, and I think he understands why we had to do it with today’s game,” Showalter said prior to Saturday’s game. “It’s never fun, especially when a guy’s pitching as well as (Peterson) is, but if you look at the way things line up and the potential of Taijuan rejoining us, it helps our club today just to cover, from a health standpoint, all our bullpen pieces.”
It was a tough move for the Mets the heels of Peterson’s third straight quality outing to start the season.
During Friday’s 6-5 win in extra innings, Peterson allowed just one earned run on three hits and one walks in 5⅔ innings with three strikeouts.
The 26-year-old left-hander was brought onboard as an insurance policy for Walker, who was dealing with knee soreness in his last spring training outing late last month. Then, in Walker’s first start of the season against the Phillies on April 11, he was removed after two perfect innings after feeling shoulder discomfort. An MRI revealed right shoulder bursitis.
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Peterson pitched four scoreless innings in relief that game and added 4⅓ more unblemished innings in another start over the Diamondbacks. On the season, he has a 0.75 ERA in 14 innings pitched with 10 strikeouts and a 1.00 WHIP.
“What was interesting to me about (Peterson), he’s done it twice against the same club and there were no secrets,” Showalter said. “I know Jeremy and I were talking about it on the plane, we were looking forward to him facing a team that he’s seen before.”
The Mets were seemingly dealt blow after blow to their pitching staff late in spring training and early into the season. Ace Jacob deGrom was sidelined less than a week before Opening Day with a stress reaction in his right scapula.
However, the Mets have been able to get strong returns from Peterson and Tylor Megill in those two absences.
Megill, who will start Sunday’s series finale against the Diamondbacks, is off to an 2-0 start with 2.20 ERA, 15 strikeouts and a 0.95 WHIP in 16⅓ innings.
Mets starters entered Saturday’s game leading the MLB in ERA (2.07), innings pitched (82⅔ innings), strikeouts (89), WHIP (0.82) and opponent’s batting average (.173).
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“The things that Billy and the front office and everybody attacked about the what-ifs and the depth have been good so far. It’s hard to do,” Showalter said. “I’m hoping we settle in. Sometimes you have a year where it never really settles in.
“We didn’t know that Taijuan was going to have an issue and Jake, but they did. What are you going to do? Sit around? Other teams don’t care, and they’re happy you’ve got problems.”
Right-handed reliever Adonis Medina, who the Mets acquired in a trade with the Pirates on April 7, was recalled Saturday to give the team an extra arm out of the bullpen. Medina has pitched in two games for the Syracuse Mets, tossing four scoreless innings with three hits and five strikeouts.
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Walker threw a bullpen session on Friday and felt good on Saturday.
Showalter said he will throw again on Monday, potentially in a simulated game in St. Louis, before the team moves forward with their plans for the rotation. An return could come either Friday or Saturday at home against the Phillies.
“Yeah, he felt really good,” Showalter said. “(PItching coach) Jeremy (Hefner) was saying how well he threw.
“We’re still deciding what’s how far and how we’re going to go about Monday. We want to see how he felt today. It seemed like things were going well, so we’re going to make a decision here shortly about what his next step is.”
Showalter said that deGrom had another series of MRIs and CT scans on his shoulder on Friday and the training staff was checking on the progress of his healing.
The original plan was to sideline deGrom from throwing for at least four weeks, a timeline that is approaching early next month. Showalter is still waiting for the latest reports on his recovery.
Andrew Tredinnick is the Mets beat writer for NorthJersey.com. For unlimited access to all Mets analysis, news, trades and more, please subscribe today and download our app.
Email: [email protected] Twitter: @andrew_tred
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism