NEW YORK — Steven Matz is not ready to come off the disabled list, and the New York Mets have scratched him from his scheduled start Thursday night against Miami.
The rookie left-hander, sidelined with tightness in his pitching shoulder, said he felt OK after throwing off a mound Sunday but experienced discomfort while playing catch Monday. Jacob deGrom will be moved up a day to start for Matz in the finale of a four-game series between NL wild-card contenders, manager Terry Collins said Tuesday.
Tests showed no structural damage in the shoulder, according to Matz and Collins.
“Just a little irritation. Still bugging me a little bit, don’t quite feel I can really let it go yet. Talked to them and the training staff, and that was the decision, just give it some more rest and let it calm down,” Matz said. “There’s just irritation in the rotator cuff. As far as the medical terms, the doctor said everything structurally looks OK, it’s just classic impingement, is what I guess you can call it.”
In other injury-related news, Neil Walker remained out of the lineup for the third consecutive game Tuesday with a stiff back.
The second baseman has been to the doctor for tests but Collins was cryptic about Walker’s recurring condition, saying he was aware of the diagnosis but wasn’t at liberty to reveal it.
Collins indicated the team hopes Walker can play Wednesday — but also said “if” the switch-hitter returns to the lineup, he will need to monitor and manage his back regularly and won’t play five or six days in a row.
“There’s a lot of concern,” Collins said. “He wants to wait one more day, which I totally get. The more rest, the better he’s going to feel. So let’s just see how he is tomorrow.”
Walker, who can become a free agent after the World Series, has matched his career high with 23 home runs in his first season with the Mets since they acquired him from Pittsburgh in a trade. He was batting .282 with a .347 on-base percentage and 55 RBIs.
“He kind of thinks he’s a lot better today and that’s why we think tomorrow we’ll know a lot more,” Collins said.
There was some good news for the Mets: Streaking shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera returned to the starting lineup and hit a two-run homer on the first pitch he saw. It was the 17th home run this season and fourth in 11 at-bats for the reigning NL player of the week.
Cabrera left Sunday’s loss to Philadelphia in the first inning after aggravating a left knee injury that sidelined him twice earlier this year. He struck out as a pinch-hitter Monday night.
Matz, who had been pitching with a bone spur in his elbow, said he believes he will return to the mound this season.
“I think it’s a day-to-day thing. The doctor believes I can pitch again, with the results and MRI,” he said. “It’s not a surgery-type deal.”
Matz is 9-8 with a 3.40 ERA in 22 starts and 132 1/3 innings. He took a no-hitter into the eighth inning of his most recent outing, Aug. 14 against San Diego.
“My arm was feeling great, which was why this is a big disappointment, because I was really feeling really good and a few days after throwing that last game I threw, something just started barking at me and it hasn’t really subsided since,” he said.
Matz said originally it was a curveball that caused him discomfort, but now he simply feels it when throwing.
“I was able to get my tossing in, but for me to get on the mound and throw a bullpen and tell them I’m ready for a game would be unrealistic in my mind,” he said.
Rookie right-handers Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo will both remain in the rotation until Matz is ready to return, Collins said.
Matz probably won’t throw for at least a few days.
“He needs more rest. He needs to continue some more therapy,” Collins said. “We’re hoping that in a couple days we can throw him over the weekend and see if he can be ready next week.”
New York added a fresh arm to the bullpen Tuesday, recalling right-hander Logan Verrett from Triple-A Las Vegas. Right-hander Rafael Montero was optioned back to Double-A Binghamton after throwing 100 pitches over five shutout innings in a spot start Monday night.