Steven Matz received an injection in his back Saturday in the hopes that he can recuperate quickly enough to pitch against the Dodgers in their National League Division Series, manager Terry Collins said before Saturday's day-night doubleheader.
Matz, who previously spent time on the disabled list with a partially torn lat muscle, woke up Tuesday with a pain in his upper back. The injury, previously downplayed by general manager Sandy Alderson, now is serious enough to cost him a spot in the NLDS rotation if he's not well enough to pitch in an instructional league game on Wednesday in Port St. Lucie, Collins said.
"If he can't pitch Wednesday, there's a good chance he won't pitch," Collins said. "But if he can get an outing this week where he can throw 90 to 100 pitches by midweek, he'll be OK."
The injection, Collins said, is meant to relax the muscles in Matz's back. If he can pitch Wednesday, Collins is very open to considering the 24-year-old lefty for a Game 4 start.
The former Ward Melville star dominated the Dodgers in his second major-league start, allowing no runs, two hits and two walks in six innings and striking out eight. He's 4-0 this year with a 2.27 ERA.
"Steven Matz has pitched against the Los Angeles Dodgers and pitched very well in his second start," Collins said of starting Matz in the playoffs even though he hasn't been in a major-league game since Sept. 24. "If he can get out there and we know he's physically able to pitch the way we know he's capable of, I don't care what the scenario is, this guy can go out and pitch a good ballgame. He's done it . . . If Steven is physically ready to do it, it doesn't scare me to put him out there."