Bunion may resolve fifth-starter's race


Jenrry Mejia starts Friday in Montreal, bunion-permitting, while Daisuke Matsuzaka starts Saturday.PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- The ultimate deciding factor in Jenrry Mejia versus Daisuke Matsuzaka for a rotation spot “absolutely” may be the bunion on the side of Mejia’s big right toe, Terry Collins said Thursday.

Mejia prematurely departed his last start with toe discomfort, and also experienced the issue in a subsequent bullpen session, pitching coach Dan Warthen said.

Asked if the bunion would be an issue when Mejia is scheduled to face the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday in Montreal, Warthen said: “I honestly do not know. It hurt him on the side the other day, so we’ll find out.”

Said Collins: “He came out of the last game with it. It’s a concern.”

The Mets deferred a decision on Mejia versus Matsuzaka -- handing Dice-K $100,000 to do so -- in part because of uncertainty about Jonathon Niese’s elbow.

Niese pitched 4 1/3 innings in a minor-league game Thursday, allaying some concerns. The expectation from team insiders continues to be that Matsuzaka ultimately will emerge in the rotation, although Mejia could be afforded one regular-season start.

Matsuzaka faces the Jays on Saturday in Montreal.

“I feel pretty good,” insisted Mejia, who has a 2.89 ERA in Grapefruit League play. “I feel so excited to pitch tomorrow. I’m going to do the best I can, like I’ve been doing before.”