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Mets’ Tylor Megill getting second shot at rotation

MIAMI — Tylor Megill was playing catch to prepare for his scheduled Opening Day start with Triple-A Syracuse when he received the unexpected message from members of the coaching staff: He was headed back to the Mets.

And so, only three days after saying goodbyes to teammates in Port St. Lucie, the right-hander flew into South Florida on Thursday night with another opportunity.

Megill is the rotation replacement for Justin Verlander, who was placed on the 15-day injured list after he was diagnosed with a low-grade strain, near his right armpit, of the teres major muscle.

The Mets co-ace is expected to continue playing catch and will be reevaluated this week — he likely will skip the Mets’ trip to Milwaukee and return ahead of the team to New York, according to manager Buck Showalter.

Megill will receive his first opportunity on Saturday, against the Marlins. In taking Verlander’s rotation spot, he also lines up to pitch Thursday’s home opener, also against the Marlins.

Tylor Megill

“You have a lot of emotions and whatnot,” Megill said Friday before the Mets’ 2-1 loss to the Marlins at loanDepot park. “But things don’t change. You come up here and compete and do to the best of your capabilities.”

The Mets didn’t see the best version of Megill late in spring training as he struggled with his command while battling David Peterson for a rotation spot.

Peterson won the job created by Jose Quintana’s absence, as the left-hander recovers from rib surgery that will keep him sidelined for at least half the season.

“In [Megill’s] situation, he was doing some things to try to make the club,” Showalter said. “I think now that he’s here and he’s going to get a chance to pitch … it’s harder to stay here than it is to get here. He’s very mature about it, him and [Peterson] both. They understand what we’re trying to do and where we are and what they need to do for us to be successful.

“[Megill] approached it a little different than say Max [Scherzer] or Justin did, and rightfully so. He’s working on some things, but when the game starts he got out of sync a little command wise, which is not him, but he showed enough. I thought he had a real good couple of first outings and then some of the command got away from him a little bit at the end.”

Last season Megill was the Mets’ Opening Day starter and pitched to a 1.93 ERA in his first five starts.

But Megill sustained a lat strain that sidelined him and after his return was diagnosed with a shoulder impingement that kept him on the IL into September.

Upon his return he was used from the bullpen.

Showalter was pleased with the rotation depth the Mets had to begin camp with Peterson and Megill on standby, but now the realization has hit that the team is one starting pitching injury away from going with a less-tested option such as Joey Lucchesi or Jose Butto.

Tylor Megill

The team also recently signed Dylan Bundy to a minor-league contract and is stretching him out in extended spring training.

Megill reported to camp noticeably leaner this year because of the added cardiovascular stress he would face dealing with the pitch clock.

Pitching coach Jeremy Hefner has surmised that Megill’s weight loss might have been responsible for some of his command issues this spring as he learned to pitch in his new body.

And Megill said he is hopeful that pitching in a game that counts might give him a boost.

“It’s really the emotions, the adrenaline, just go out there and compete,” Megill said. “I don’t really think about my effort level. I just go at them with all the intensity that I can.”