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Back end of Mets rotation very much in air upon return to play from COVID layoff

Steven Matz (Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports)

As the Mets returned from their five-day hiatus following two positive COVID-19 cases within their ranks, Luis Rojas is taking his starting rotation assignments nice and slow.

Rick Porcello and Seth Lugo got the nods to start each leg of Tuesday’s doubleheader against the Marlins with Jacob deGrom getting the call for Wednesday.

Rojas cited the retention of deGrom’s normal throwing schedule as to why he was pushed back to Tuesday.

That’s all we know about the Mets’ rotation right now as the starter for the series finale against the Marlins on Thursday along with Friday’s Subway Series opener against the Yankees is unknown.

While he continues to struggle, Steven Matz did not receive a vote of confidence from his manager that he will make his next turn in the rotation.

The southpaw has yet to win a game this season while possessing a 9.00 ERA in five starts.

“We’re TBD from Thursday on,” Rojas said. “We’ll be announcing when we get closer to the date… we’ll keep assessing with everyone.”

“We do not intend to use Matz today out of the bullpen.”

That suggests that Matz could be in line to make another start, but it also might depend on the status of Michael Wacha and David Peterson — both of whom are nearing returns from shoulder issues.

“One thing I can offer is that yesterday at the workout, both Michael Wacha and David Peterson threw [bullpen sessions],” Rojas said. “The feedback after they were throwing was good. We’ll see how they feel today and we’ll find out what the next step will be.”

Wacha has remained true to form from his final years with the St. Louis Cardinals, battling some inconsistencies at the bottom of the Mets’ rotation, but Peterson has been a revelation in his rookie season.

The 24-year-old southpaw was 3-1 with a 2.91 ERA over his first four MLB starts before shoulder fatigue sidelined him.

Peterson’s return would give the Mets five healthy starters, joining deGrom, Porcello, Lugo, and Robert Gsellman. It could prompt Rojas to put both Matz and Wacha in the bullpen, or restore Lugo back to his role as a vital late-inning reliever.

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