Mets interim general manager John Ricco announced Thursday “there was no structural damage” to the pitching elbow of Steven Matz, adding he was “diagnosed with a mild flexor pronator strain” after undergoing an MRI earlier in the day.
“Steven’s feeling better, a lot better today,” Ricco said before the Mets hosted the Braves in the opener of a four-game series at Citi Field. “We’re gonna decide in the next day or so whether he’s able to make his next start or if he ends up going on the DL. There’s a chance with the strain that he does end up on the DL, but we’ll make that call in the next day or so.”
Matz was not available for comment.
Concern regarding Matz was raised Tuesday after manager Mickey Callaway said the lefthander had been dealing with a “dead arm” over his previous three starts following the shortest outing of his career. The 27-year-old former Ward Melville star allowed seven earned runs on eight hits over two thirds of an inning in Washington, dropping to 5-9 on the season with a 4.35 ERA. He has thrown 107 2⁄3 innings.
Callaway didn’t rule out the possibility of Matz making his regularly-scheduled start Sunday afternoon in the series finale with Atlanta. But given that Matz has thrown just 342 1/3 innings and has faced a number of injuries since his major-league debut in 2015, Callaway toned down expectations of an immediate return.
“I think we just need to see how he comes in tomorrow,” Callaway said. “He came in today a lot better than he was before. Now, having said that, we also have to do the right thing by Matz. He’s getting up there in innings this year. Obviously he hasn’t hauled a ton of innings the past few years so we have to keep that into consideration and whether or not it’s better to give him a little bit of break here, since it makes some sense. So we’ll definitely see how he comes in and try to make the best decision for him moving forward.”
While Ricco, too, spoke optimistically regarding Matz moving forward, he also made it clear that the organization would likely remain cautious with one of their key starters.
“The doctor just said when he’s asymptomatic he can resume throwing,” Ricco said. “He was feeling a lot better today. So we’ll see how it goes tomorrow, but there’s a good chance that we just take a conservative approach here. He’s in the middle of a long season, but we’ll make the call on that either later today or early tomorrow.”
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