Right-hander Collin McHugh will make his Major League debut Thursday as the Mets shut down Johan Santana for the rest of the season as he struggles with lower back inflammation.
"I wanted to keep pitching," Santana said. "It's too bad that I have to go down like this, but it's part of the game."
McHugh has some big shoes to fill, taking over for a hard-throwing lefty who tossed a no-hitter earlier this season.
In his final nine outings for Triple-A Buffalo, McHugh went 2-2 with a 2.45 ERA, 52 strikeouts and 19 walks. And while it's his first big league start, McHugh is semi-familiar with the bright lights of the Majors.
His most recent outing came at Boston's Fenway Park against Triple-A Pawtucket, when McHugh slung seven shutout innings.
"Obviously it's not a big league game, but it is a pretty storied big league ballpark and it was pretty fun," McHugh said. "Hopefully it translates well."
He'll face off against Rockies righty Tyler Chatwood, who was roughed up for six runs in the first two innings Saturday against the Marlins.
Chatwood eventually settled in for the final 2 1/3 innings and continued the groove he began two starts prior.
Chatwood has only faced the Mets once, when he was with the Angels in 2011, and tossed seven shutout innings and gave up just four hits in a win.
Rockies: Tulo, Giambi set for rehab stints
Colorado continues to grow closer to full strength as the club announced Wednesday that Troy Tulowitzki and Jason Giambi will begin rehab assignments with Double-A Tulsa on Friday.
Tulowitzki, who has been out since May 30 with a groin injury, met with the same doctor who performed his surgery June 21 on Wednesday, with positive results.
He is scheduled to play five innings Friday, followed by a day of rest until he feels strong enough to play back-to-back days.
"It's been a long process and it's been frustrating," Tulowitzki said. "It's going to be mixed emotions for me when I get out there playing.I'll be nervous, I'll be excited, but I just want to get through a game to prove I can do everything and we'll take it from there."
Giambi, who has been on the DL since July 24 with a viral infection, is slated to play a complete game Friday as the designated hitter.
Center fielder Dexter Fowler left Wednesday's game against the Mets in the fourth inning with a sprained right ankle running into second base.
Jordan Pacheco pinch-ran for Fowler and stayed in the game at first base, while Tyler Colvin filled in for Fowler in center.
Mets: Nieuwenhuis' season over
After a breakout start to his rookie campaign, outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis will not suit up for the Mets again this year.
Doctors in New York advised that Nieuwenhuis rest the partially torn plantar fascia in his right foot for the rest of the season, after he previously tried to rehab it in Florida.
Nieuwenhuis initially hurt his foot in Triple-A Buffalo while running the first-base line just days after being optioned by the Mets.
Though he garnered early National League Rookie of the Year consideration for his .297 average, six home runs and superlative outfield defense through June 15, Nieuwenhuis batted.123 with one home run after that date, striking out in more than 44 percent of his plate appearances.
Rockies manager Jim Tracy said Guillermo Moscoso, who was optioned to Triple-A Colorado Springs on Wednesday, will rejoin the club as September callup.
Moscoso pitched in place of Josh Roenicke on Monday, tossing 2 1/3 scoreless innings against the Mets.
"We're very mindful of where [Roenicke] is at from an innings standpoint, which goes back to Moscoso and a lot of the reason as to why he'll return to our club in early September," Tracy said.
The Mets have scored 42 runs in 15 home games since the All-Star break. They have been outscored, 91-42, at Citi Field since the break.