In ascertaining Steven Matz’s shoulder issue, perhaps the Mets should revisit their earlier proclamation the left-hander’s bone spur injury was simply a matter of pain tolerance, as suggested by both GM Sandy Alderson and manager Terry Collins.
On June 28 – nearly two months ago – I wrote that was nonsense. Everybody knows, and I should lump Alderson into that group, any injury with a pitcher should be considered more serious than it is and, injuries/hurts leads to overcompensation with another part of the body.
I undoubtedly admire Matz’s warrior spirit, but let’s face it, this is his first full season in the major leagues and he doesn’t have the resume to call his own shots. He wants to pitch, I get that, but like most young players he doesn’t have the smarts or backbone to tell his real feelings to Collins or management.
As baseball lifers, both Collins and Alderson should realize what was going on with Matz and protect him.
This is what Alderson said in late June: “At this point, it’s a function of whether he can tolerate the discomfort while continuing to pitch. What we will do is monitor that level of discomfort.”
I take two things from that statement. The first is, and I said it at the time, Alderson’s comment was garbage, that pain tolerance is simply a misguided assumption. You can’t assume anything with an injury. Can’t be done.
The second is if Matz’s shoulder is now an issue their level of monitoring leaves a lot to be desired.
Look, I can’t say with 100 percent certainty there is a connection between the elbow and the shoulder, but the flip side Alderson can’t say with 100 percent absoluteness it isn’t.
I believe, and this comes from years of following the Mets, they too frequently play fast and loose with injuries.
Matz will travel to New York Monday to be examined by team doctors, something that should have been done as soon as he was scratched from his last start.
Nobody knows what the doctors will find with Matz, but the Mets’ appropriate response should be getting him better and stronger, not seeing if he can throw five innings next weekend against the Phillies.