Mets sign Kiko Calero to minor-league deal

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Despite varying reports about his health status Kelvim Escobar seems likely to begin the season on the disabled list, so the Mets have smartly added another right-handed reliever by signing Kiko Calero to a minor-league contract.
Calero is 35 years old and also has a lengthy history of arm injuries, but the fact that he managed only a minor-league deal after posting a 1.95 ERA with 69 strikeouts and a .180 opponents’ batting average in 60 innings last season is pretty amazing.
He’s a big risk because that modest workload actually represented a career-high for Calero and he logged a grand total of just 4.2 innings in 2008, but when healthy he’s consistently been a quality setup man. Calero typically works in the high-80s with his fastball, but his low-80s slider is among the best in baseball and he’s racked up 324 strikeouts in 302.2 career innings along with a 3.24 ERA.
Given their recent track record with keeping players healthy Calero may give the Mets’ training staff a lot of trouble, but he’s an excellent low-cost pickup with a chance to make a big impact in a late-inning role.

Steven Matz homers in back-to-back starts

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Mets starter Steven Matz helped his own cause again, belting a solo home run in the top of the third inning of Tuesday’s game against the Phillies. Matz turned on a 1-1 breaking ball from Cy Young contender Aaron Nola, breaking a scoreless tie.

Matz also homered in his previous start against the Marlins last Thursday. According to MLB Stat of the Day, he is the third Mets pitcher to homer in back-to-back starts, joining Tom Seaver (1972) and Ron Darling (1989).

Matz is the fourth full-time pitcher to hit multiple home runs this season, joining the Reds’ Michael Lorenzen (four), and the Cardinals’ John Gant and Miles Mikolas (two each). The last Mets pitcher to hit multiple home runs in a season was Noah Syndergaard, who hit three in 2016.

Along with the bat, Matz has also been dealing on the mound. As of this writing, he has held the Phillies scoreless over five innings despite walking five batters and allowing two hits.