With two starters ailing, the New York Mets made a flurry of moves Monday to replenish their banged-up pitching staff.
First, the team obtained right-hander Wilmer Font from the Tampa Bay Rays for a player to be named or cash. Hours later, the Mets placed left-hander Jason Vargas on the 10-day injured list with a left hamstring injury and recalled right-hander Corey Oswalt from Triple-A Syracuse.
New York also activated lefty reliever Justin Wilson from the 10-day IL and optioned right-hander Tim Peterson to Syracuse. Two relievers remain on the injured list: Jeurys Familia with a sore shoulder, and Luis Avila?n with a tender elbow.
The moves came before the Mets opened a three-game series against the Padres.
In addition, manager Mickey Callaway said starter Steven Matz had an injection of cortisone and lidocaine after being sent back to New York to have a forearm nerve issue examined. Matz won’t be able to throw for a few days and the left-hander will rejoin the club when it returns home later this week following the series in San Diego.
Callaway said the team will wait before deciding whether to put Matz on the injured list.
“He’s one of our best pitchers, and if he can pitch before he’s eligible to come off the IL, we want him to do that,” Callaway said. “We want to give him every opportunity, and we can always backdate him.”
Callaway said the Mets are still deciding who will start Wednesday in Matz’s place, and it could be a reliever as an opener.
The 28-year-old Font is 1-0 with a 5.79 ERA in 10 appearances this year, striking out 18 in 14 innings. He is 3-3 with a 6.51 ERA in five starts and 32 relief appearances over five seasons for Texas, the Los Angeles Dodgers, Oakland and Tampa Bay.
“Another guy that we got to help our depth out. You could see him on Wednesday. He’ll be another guy to be an option to do that,” Callaway said. “We felt that was necessary, and everything lined up. So we’re excited that we got him — another piece to just help us out depth-wise. I’ve seen some video. Big arm, sounds like he had some success as a starter, but the stuff is premium. Another guy that we’re going to take a look at in multiple roles.”
Font is expected to join the Mets in San Diego on Tuesday, when they will make another move to open a spot for him on the 25-man roster. To make room on the 40-man roster, the Mets transferred outfielder Yoenis Céspedes to the 60-day injured list.
Vargas (1-2) gave up three hits — including Christian Yelich’s homer — and three runs in four innings of a 3-2 loss at Milwaukee on Sunday. He left for a pinch-hitter in the fifth after experiencing mild hamstring tightness.
Callaway said Vargas came in Monday “a lot better than we would have expected. We’ll just have to wait and see. It’s still a hamstring.”