After experiencing some soreness in his left elbow, Steven Matz will be forced to miss his first start of the season for the Mets.
The Mets wrapped up their Grapefruit League schedule on Wednesday. With only five days remaining until Opening Day at Citi Field, the roster is starting to take shape, and time has also run out for those that aren’t ready.
Unfortunately for Steven Matz, it looks like he’s going to be on the outside looking in to start the year. After Wednesday’s game, manager Terry Collins spoke to the media and told them he’d be missing his first start of the year.
Matz is also having an MRI done on his elbow. Though doctors have originally thought no damage was made, the Mets still want to be sure. Even if the results come back clean, Matz still won’t pitch in the big leagues until he can get one outing of 80 pitches under his belt, according to Collins.
The news obviously bumps up the backend of the rotation a little. The Mets have already announced their first three starters for the series against Atlanta, but had been specially quiet about the fourth and fifth slots. Don’t be surprised if we see Robert Gsellman take the ball in the first game of the series against the Marlins next week.
The real question will, of course, be whether Zack Wheeler or Seth Lugo gets the nod for the last spot in the rotation. According to the Post’s Mike Puma, Collins even threw Rafael Montero — who’s had a fantastic spring — into the mix for that start.
Many insiders believe Mets are more likely to take Wheeler in that scenario with Lugo remaining in the bullpen as a long man, but that hasn’t been officially confirmed.
As we’ve repeated many times, the good news for the Mets is that they’ve built some great depth in the pitching department. Hopefully this issue with Matz’s elbow isn’t a huge deal and only causes him to miss a small amount of time, but even if it is, the Mets are ready to take the blow, and get the season started.