PHOENIX — There’s an embarrassment of riches in the Mets’ starting rotation.
With Trevor Williams starting there on Saturday and Taijuan Walker looming to return from the 10-day IL, Buck Showalter had to break the difficult news to David Peterson that he had been opted for Triple-A Syracuse on the heels of the sterling departure from Friday in Arizona.
But Showalter said Peterson won’t be gone long and will start for the Mets in the team’s doubleheader against the Braves on May 3.
“He’s earned the right to be back, and I think he understands why we had to do that with today’s game,” Showalter said ahead of Saturday’s game. “It’s never fun, especially when a guy is shooting as well as (Peterson), but if you look at the way things line up and the potential for Taijuan to join us, it helps our club today just to cover , from a health point of view, all of our pen rooms.”
It was a tough call for the Mets after Peterson’s third straight quality outing to start the season.
In Friday’s 6-5 extra innings victory, Peterson allowed just one earned run on three hits and a walk in 5⅔ innings with three strikeouts.
The 26-year-old southpaw was brought in as an insurance policy for Walker, who suffered from knee pain during 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 retired after two perfect innings after experiencing shoulder discomfort. An MRI revealed bursitis of the right shoulder.
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Peterson pitched four scoreless innings in relief that game and added 4⅓ more scoreless innings in another start against the Diamondbacks. On the season, he has a 0.75 ERA in 14 innings pitched with 10 strikeouts and a 1.00 WHIP.
“What interested me about (Peterson) is that he did 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 it against a team he’s seen before.”
The Mets apparently received blow after blow to their pitching squad late in spring training and early in the season. Ace Jacob deGrom was sidelined less than a week before opening day with a stress reaction in his right shoulder blade.
However, the Mets were able to get strong returns from Peterson and Tylor Megill during those two absences.
Megill, who will start Sunday’s series finale against the Diamondbacks, started 2-0 with a 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 average opponent’s batting (0.173).
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“The things that Billy and the front office and everybody have been attacking about assumptions and depth have been good so far. It’s hard to do,” Showalter said. “I hope we settle down. Sometimes you have a year where it never really settles down.
“We didn’t know Taijuan was going to have a problem and Jake, but they did. What are you going to do? Sit? The other teams don’t care and they’re happy you have problems.”
Right-handed reliever Adonis Medina, who the Mets acquired in a trade from the Pirates on April 7, was called up Saturday to give the team an extra arm out of the bullpen. Medina pitched in two games for the Syracuse Mets, throwing four scoreless innings with three hits and five strikeouts.
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Walker kicked off a bullpen session on Friday and felt great on Saturday.
Showalter said he would pitch again on Monday, potentially in a mock game in St. Louis, before the team moves forward with its rotation plans. A return could take place Friday or Saturday at home against the Phillies.
“Yeah, he felt really good,” Showalter said. “(Throwing coach) Jeremy (Hefner) was saying how well he was throwing.
“We are still deciding how far and how we are going to go on Monday. We want to see how he felt today. It looked like things were going well, so we will be making a decision here shortly on what his next step is.”
Showalter said deGrom had another set of MRIs and CT scans on his shoulder on Friday and training staff were checking his healing progress.
The original plan was to keep deGrom from launching for at least four weeks, a schedule that is approaching the start of next month. Showalter is still awaiting the latest reports on his recovery.
Andrew Tredinnick is the Mets beats editor for NorthJersey.com. For unlimited access to all Mets analytics, news, deals and more, please sign up today and download our app.
Email: [email protected] Twitter: @andrew_tred