Posted on August 30, 2016 by Bryan Zarpentine
The reports of Steven Matz returning from the DL on Thursday for the New York Mets have been greatly exaggerated. Well, perhaps not exaggerated, but definitely a little premature. One day after the Matz penciled in Matz to return from the DL on Thursday, manager Terry Collins announced that the young southpaw will remain on the DL due to continued irritation in his shoulder. The Mets have shut him down and there is no timetable for his return at this time.
Matz told reporters Tuesday that he has irritation in his rotator cuff as a result of a shoulder impingement. “Just a little irritation — it’s still bugging me a little bit,” Matz explains. “I don’t quite feel like I can let it go yet.” Doctors have told Matz that his shoulder is fine structurally and that surgery will not be required to fix the issue. Of course, Matz has been pitching with bone spurs in his elbow for much of the year and is likely to undergo surgery this offseason to address that issue.
“I felt like I was making progress, and then I threw off the mound a little bit, and I felt OK,” Matz told reporters Tuesday afternoon. “And then the next day, which was yesterday, I tried to throw and it was kind of barking at me a little bit again. It didn’t cause me to stop throwing. I was able to get my tossing in. But for me to get on the mound and throw a bullpen and tell them I’m ready for a game would just be unrealistic in my mind.”
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The Mets don’t believe the issue with Matz’s elbow has caused the issue with his shoulder, but the lefty says there’s no way to know for sure. “My arm was really feeling great, which is why this is a big disappointment. A few days after that last game I threw, something just started barking at me. It kind of really hasn’t subsided since,” he said. The last time Matz pitched was August 14 when he carried a no-hitter into the 8th inning against the San Diego Padres.
There is no timetable for Matz to resume throwing, as he will likely wait until the pain in his shoulder fully subsides. He is confident he’ll be able to return before the end of the season; however, his manager does not appear to be as confident. When asked if he was concerned about Matz being lost for the remainder of the season, Collins replied: “Yes. I am.”
In the meantime, the Mets will move up Jacob deGrom’s return up a day. After having his start Monday skipped to get him extra rest, deGrom was scheduled to pitch Friday, but he will now start Thursday in place of Matz. The continued absence of Matz means that rookies Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo will remain in the starting rotation.
The Mets were hoping that the return of Matz from the DL and the return of deGrom from an extended rest on consecutive days would give them a lift, both physically and psychologically, heading into September. However, there is now uncertainty about how much Matz will be able to help the Mets down the stretch, if at all, diminishing any emotional boost the team was expecting.
New York is definitely in the thick of the playoff race, just 2.5 games out of the second wild card spot. But without Matz, the rotation the Mets were expecting to carry them this season is greatly diminished. It could be up to deGrom and Noah Syndergaard to carry the Mets to the postseason, but considering all the other injuries and question marks that surround the team, that may not be enough to get the defending National League champions back to the postseason.