Meet the Matz.
Eventually, at least.
Though the Ward Melville High School pitching standout didn't make an appearance at Citi Field Friday night, the name Steven Matz was repeated over and over.
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson officially announced that the 24-year-old lefthander has been called up from Triple-A Las Vegas and will make his first major-league start Sunday against the Reds. The Mets will return to the six-man rotation they scrapped only a few weeks ago.
"He deserves a promotion and we've moved him into the rotation," Alderson said, noting that the move gives the Mets more flexibility, a formidable weapon on the mound and a way to save the arms of their young starters.
"This kid is very, very talented," manager Terry Collins said. "You saw the arm and said, 'Wow. If this kid learns the command, he's going to be outstanding.' Well, he did. He did learn the command. We're very excited to see him."
It's been a long, bumpy but eventually satisfying journey to the big leagues for Matz. The Mets selected him in the second round of the 2009 draft, but the exultation didn't last long. Matz had Tommy John surgery on his left elbow only a year later.
The rest has been a slow climb back, and an effort to prove he can be an elite pitcher. He has gone 7-4 with a 2.19 ERA, a 1.11 WHIP and 94 strikeouts in 901/3 innings for Las Vegas this season. His workload was cut in recent weeks to prepare him for the promotion, Alderson said.
Alderson said Matz's presence is a twofold necessity: The Mets want to get him in the rotation and also are "dealing with some of the other limitations that we face with some of our other starters. We're going to go to a six-man rotation. I expect that will continue for a period of time and we'll see where it goes."
Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard face innings limitations, and all must remain in the rotation for the Mets to be in playoff contention late in the season. The math, Alderson said, makes Matz a must-have.
"If you're looking at it from a long-term perspective . . . you can't really put it off too much longer," he said.
The six-man rotation was met with some grumbling by members of the rotation the first time around, but Collins said his pitchers have turned a corner.
"They're on board," he said. "We did it before, things were moving pretty good, guys were pitching pretty well. We went back, we changed it and a couple of guys didn't pitch all that good . . . These guys compete off one another, and it'll be interesting to see how his introduction here adds to the rotation and maybe picks up some energy."
That was hardly the only news to come out of a bustling Citi Field.
With David Wright's future uncertain, Collins said he does not plan to move shortstop Wilmer Flores to third base but will wait for Daniel Murphy to complete his rehab assignment and take the position.
Murphy, suffering from a strained left quadriceps, is only a few days from being activated. The thought, Collins said, is to move Flores to second and play Ruben Tejada at shortstop.
"There's a lot been made that Wilmer Flores can't play shortstop,'' Collins said, "and I disagree with that. I'm not moving Wilmer to third and back to second in a couple days . . . All the shuffling . . . that's hard for a major-league guy who plays every day to get into."