On Monday, the Mets announced that young starter Steven Matz was being shut down. Manager Terry Collins insisted that Matz was not hurt, telling reporters, “This is not an injury, this is not an injury ... If he had to pitch he could pitch tomorrow.” A few hours later, the Mets announced that Matz will be having surgery to reposition an irritated ulnar nerve in his pitching elbow, which sounds a hell of a lot like an injury.
On one level, this is a typically Mets-y PR bungle, in which the organization decided it would be a good idea to march their always-harried manager in front of the press and have him tell lies that would be almost immediately refuted. This is the second time this has happened this year! We can all enjoy pointing and laughing and shaking our heads at that.
But then comes this follow-up report from Newsday, in which it is revealed that the Mets’ bone-deep ineptitude didn’t just make Collins look silly in public, but may have actually put Matz’s health at risk. Get a load of this shit:
According to a source, Matz consented to multiple pain-killing injections, occasionally on game days, to quell the pain that came along with an elbow that at times swelled to the size of a grapefruit. The pain came and went, though the elbow bothered him mostly between starts.
One source described a belief by some in the organization that Matz was simply learning to get over the “mental hurdle” of pitching through pain. Indeed, injury has been a constant theme throughout his career.
The Mets, a team loaded with young pitching talent that should be competing for a World Series title every year, have once again been undone by injuries this season. Every one of their prized starting pitchers save Jacob DeGrom has spent time on the DL, and the everyday lineup has been a rotating cast of guys seemingly in competition to see how many times they can injure and re-injure themselves.
Usually, you can write off a rash of injuries as bad luck, but given what’s in this Newsday report—that the Mets spent months pumping one of their pitchers full of painkillers so he could learn to pitch through pain—it’s starting to seem like the Mets, who have a long, rich history in this area, are once again the creators of their own bad luck.