The Mets have scratched Steven Matz from his scheduled start on Friday, citing lingering left shoulder soreness that may prevent the lefthander from returning this season. It is the second time in a week that the Mets have pulled the plug on a scheduled return of a starting pitcher the day before, with Matz joining Jacob deGrom.
“We’ll see where this takes us,” Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said. “But for the next several days, that shoulder issue has to resolve itself before we would consider pitching [Matz] again.”
Manager Terry Collins said that with the regular season winding down, Matz has likely run out of time for a return to the rotation barring “miraculous recovery.” However, the Long Island lefty said that he has yet to discuss the possibility of abandoning his efforts to return.
“There’s been no discussion of shutting me down,” Matz said. “Today is just a setback.”
With Matz’s status up in the air, rookies Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo find themselves in line to make postseason starts for the Mets should they reach the wild-card game and advance to the NLDS.
Gabriel Ynoa will start in Matz’s place on Friday.
“It’s frustrating,” said Matz, who has been sidelined since Aug. 14 with what the club has called an impingement in his left shoulder. “You know, the team’s winning and they’re doing good, and I want to help the team as best as I could. So just sitting there on the sidelines not doing anything, it’s not what you want to do.”
Matz, 25, is 9-8 with a 3.40 ERA in 22 starts, but he has dealt with arm issues all season. He is already in line for elbow surgery this offseason to remove a spur that has caused pain. But for now, it appears he will not require surgery to fix his shoulder that came up sore on Thursday, one day after Matz threw a 27-pitch bullpen session.
“This is a little bit different than your regular soreness,” said Matz, who compared the symptoms to the same ones he felt when he first went down a little more than a month ago.
The Mets intend to be conservative with Matz, who is considered part of the young and talented core of arms that has been battered this season.
“When you’re talking about the shoulder, you’re talking about serious territory here,” Collins said. “So, it’s got to really calm down before we consider getting him back out there.”