- Associated Press - Friday, June 26, 2015

NEW YORK (AP) - Highly touted Steven Matz is set to join the New York Mets this weekend as part of their plan to return to a six-man rotation for the “foreseeable future.”

General manager Sandy Alderson made the announcement before the Mets hosted Cincinnati on Friday night. He said he expected the shift to six starters “will continue for a period of time.”

Matz will join a talented rotation that includes Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Bartolo Colon, Noah Syndergaard and Jon Niese. Alderson said the Mets want to avoid overworking their mostly young staff and manage their innings.

Matz is ready to make his major league debut Sunday against the Reds. The 24-year-old lefty from Long Island leads the Triple-A Pacific Coast League in ERA, strikeouts and innings, and is tied for the most wins.

In each of the two previous seasons in the minors, Matz won the clinching game of league championships.

“He’s going to be full out when he gets here,” manager Terry Collins said.

Earlier this month, the Mets abandoned their try at a six-man rotation after just one turn through starters and wound up sending Dillon Gee to the minors.

Alderson said the move back to six starters was no secret to the staff.

“This arrangement has been discussed with the other five pitchers,” he said. “I think they understand it’s in their interest.”

Alderson said off-days would not factor into when pitchers worked, and that keeping to a six-man rotation would be “as strict as we can make it, in the near term.”

The exact order of the rotation will be determined during the All-Star break in a few weeks. The team wants to avoid, for example, having lefties Niese and Matz face an opponent in the same series.

Alderson said the potential injuries and the success of the pitchers could alter things in the second half of the season. While saying the plan isn’t necessarily “cast in stone,” he said it would be for the “foreseeable future.”

There is no exact science toward monitoring innings for pitchers, he acknowledged. Yet as July 1 approached, he said the team wanted to come up with a program to regulate the workload. The Mets have been near the top of the NL East this season, and Alderson said this plan could give them some flexibility during the stretch.

Other teams have tried six-man rotations for short periods, often when they played a long string of games in a row. Clubs have also had pitchers make spot starts in order to give others some extra rest.

Harvey missed all of last season while recovering from Tommy John surgery. The pitching-rich Mets lost young Zack Wheeler to Tommy John surgery before the season began, and Rafael Montero has been sidelined by a rotator cuff injury.

NOTES: INF Daniel Murphy (quad) is playing rehab games at Class A St. Lucie and is close to returning, Collins said. Murphy will play 3B when he’s back, Collins said. … There’s still no timetable for All-Star 3B David Wright (back). Alderson called his injury “ambiguous” and “problematic.” … Aware that the Mets aren’t hitting, Alderson said he’s looked at possible trades, saying, “right now, it’s a thin market.” He added: “I’m prepared to overpay. But there has to be something to overpay for.”

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