Jason Vargas’ return to the Mets’ rotation won’t come until after the All-Star break.
The veteran lefty, who is rehabbing from a strained calf, is scheduled to pitch a second rehab game for Single-A Brooklyn on Saturday to build up his pitch count. In his last start, Vargas threw 60 pitches.
“We feel the last couple times out of necessity we probably tried to get him here immediately at the first possible chance he would be available, and we feel we need to get him out to 90 pitches before he comes and makes a start for us here,” manager Mickey Callaway said. “We don’t want him tiring too early.”
Noah Syndergaard’s return from the disabled list will come Friday against the Nationals — he “feels great” after his last bullpen session, according to Callaway — and Zack Wheeler and Corey Oswalt will pitch Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
Matt den Dekker was selected from Triple-A Las Vegas and started in center field Wednesday. He went 0-for-4 in a 3-0 win over the Phillies. The Mets cleared space on the 40-man roster by releasing right-handed pitcher Marcos Molina, who was 1-9 with a 6.66 ERA in 14 starts for Double-A Binghamton.
Asdrubal Cabrera was absent from the starting lineup because of concerns about his left elbow, which he aggravated the previous night, but he pinch-hit for Jacob deGrom in the eighth, drawing an intentional walk. Cabrera has been playing through a hyperextended elbow.
Dominic Smith started at first base for the third time in four games, but Callaway said left field is still an option for him.
“I would like to see him in both spots, and the main thing with him is if he is going to be here try to get him at-bats,” Callaway said. Smith, who went 0-for-4 with a strikeout, is mired in a 4-for-40 (.100) slide.
David Wright is still progressing in his rehab, according to Callaway, and has not sustained any recent setbacks. Even so, Callaway was hesitant to predict a potential next step for the Mets captain, who has been taking batting practice and fielding grounders in Port St. Lucie. Wright has undergone three surgeries since he last appeared in a game for the Mets in May 2016.
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