Scott Rice is on pace for the second-most appearances ever

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Apparently the Mets really like to use their left-handed specialists a lot.

Pedro Feliciano led the league in appearances in 2008, 2009, and 2010 while pitching for the Mets, setting the all-time record for appearances by a left-hander in 2010 with 92. And now the Mets’ current southpaw specialist, Scott Rice, is on pace to break that record.

Rice, who’s a 31-year-old rookie getting his first taste of the majors after 14 seasons in the minors, has appeared in 30 of the Mets’ first 50 games. That puts him on pace for 97 appearances, which would be the most ever by a lefty and the second-most of all time behind only Mike Marshall’s ridiculous, Cy Young-winning 1974 season in which he threw 208 innings in 106 appearances.

Here’s the all-time leaderboard:

Mike Marshall     1974     106
Salomon Torres    2006      96
Kent Tekulve      1979      94
Pedro Feliciano   2010      92
Mike Marshall     1973      92

Not bad for a guy who had a 4.40 ERA at Triple-A last season and was pitching in an independent league in 2011.

Steven Matz to skip next spring training start with elbow issues

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Mets’ left-hander Steven Matz will miss his Grapefruit League appearance on Monday after experiencing soreness in his left elbow, according to a report by Mike Puma of the New York Post. Matz reportedly first felt discomfort in his elbow on Wednesday after pitching four innings against the Marlins, but a medical evaluation revealed no structural damage.

Still, it’s unsettling news for the 25-year-old, who is coming off of an injury-riddled 2016 season. Matz pitched to a 3.40 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 8.8 SO/9 during his sophomore campaign with the Mets, but his success was hampered by a bevy of shoulder and elbow issues that culminated in season-ending surgery to remove bone spurs from his left elbow.

Comments from Mets’ GM Sandy Alderson indicated that while the club doesn’t believe anything is significantly wrong with Matz’s elbow this time around, the setback could have an impact on his chances of cracking the Opening Day roster. Until he’s cleared to return to the mound, the club is expected to take a longer look at rotation candidates Robert Gsellman, Zack Wheeler and Seth Lugo.

Video: Andrew Toles hammers grand slam in Cactus League win

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Dodgers’ left fielder Andrew Toles crushed his first spring training home run on Saturday afternoon. With the bases loaded and a two-run deficit hanging over their heads in the fourth inning, Toles stepped up to the plate against Oakland right-hander Jesse Hahn and unloaded a grand slam on the second pitch he saw.

Third baseman Justin Turner was quick to follow up with a solo jack of his own, bringing the score to a comfortable 7-4 lead by the end of the fourth. Another three-run outburst in the fifth and an eighth-inning RBI single by Austin Barnes raised the final score to 11-6… which, coincidentally, was the same score the Reds used to defeat the Athletics’ second split-squad lineup on Saturday (albeit with a few more RBI walks than grand slams).

Toles, 24, is approaching his sophomore season with the Dodgers in 2017. He slashed .314/.365/.505 with three home runs and an .870 OPS in his first major league season in 2016 and is expected to platoon with the right-handed Franklin Gutierrez in left field this year.