The Blue Jays are seeing the good Steven Matz thus far.
The fickle former Mets lefty has impressed his new team in spring training as he fights for a spot in Toronto’s rotation.
That continued on Tuesday, when he threw three shutout innings in the Blue Jays’ 4-1 Grapefruit League win over the Phillies.
“He’s looked really good,” Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo told reporters afterward. “He’s around the zone with all his pitches, throwing strikes, he looks like he’s in command. That’s good news for us.”
The Mets traded Matz, 29, this offseason for three pitching prospects — Sean Reid-Foley, Yennsy Diaz and Josh Winckowski. Winckowski was later flipped to the Red Sox in a three-team trade that landed speedy outfield prospect Khalil Lee.
Matz’s up-and-down time in Queens hit a low-point in 2020 when he was moved to the bullpen during a season in which he had a 9.68 ERA.
“I got a little carried away last year,” Matz said in his introductory Blue Jays Zoom call in late January. “I was starting to throw a little harder, stuff like that, instead of really going back to what I did coming up through the minor leagues all the way to my big-league career. (I’ve) just (been) working on that fastball command.”
The Long Island native now seems to be in good shape to start the season in the rotation, thanks in part to a hamstring injury by highly-regarded prospect Nate Pearson. According to Sportsnet, Matz threw 43 pitches on Tuesday and produced nine swings and misses. His fastball averaged 94.8 mph.
“I’m feeling really good,” Matz said. “Just to be able to throw all my pitches for strikes in any count, that’s huge for me at this time of year. I can really build off that.”