WASHINGTON -- The starting rotation of the New York Mets was a strength going into the 2016 season.
Now it is officially a concern following updates Tuesday on left-hander Steven Matz and right-hander Noah Syndergaard, who lasted just three innings on Monday in Washington against the Nationals.
"We have a less than perfect situation right now," Mets general manager Sandy Alderson admitted Tuesday, after announcing that Matz would not make his start as scheduled on Wednesday against the Nationals.
Logan Verrett (3-4, 4.14) will make the start Wednesday against Max Scherzer (8-5, 3.52) of the Nationals. Verrett has made 20 appearances this year, with four starts, while Scherzer threw a no-hitter at New York last October.
"Steven has a spur in the back of his elbow," Alderson said. "It is causing discomfort. There is no structural damage in his elbow. Continuing to pitch will not cause any structural damage. What we have decided to do for the moment is skip his start tomorrow and pitch him on Thursday. We will continue to monitor his situation. We will monitor the level of discomfort. We will monitor it on a start-by-star basis."
Alderson said at some point the Mets may consider going to a six-man rotation to help save wear and tear on Matz and the rest of the staff. But manager Terry Collins said Tuesday that is not going to happen in the immediate future.
Matz last pitched on Friday against the Atlanta Braves and last 4 1/3 innings and gave up six earned runs on nine hits. He did not figure in the decision as the Mets won 8-6.
Is he confident he can pitch through his elbow issues?
"I've been doing it up until this point," he told reporters Tuesday. "It's something that, as long as they feel comfortable with me being out there with the way I'm pitching, then I think I'm going to battle through it. That's the mindset- get it all behind me and just go out there and pitch."
Is it difficult to deal with mentally?
"There's not much difficulty there just because the doctor is really confident that nothing structurally is wrong. So it's just a matter of going out there and pitching now," Matz added.
Alderson said if Matz had surgery he would be out about three months, which would put a return in October. Matz said he will deal with the spur coming out when the time comes.
The Long Island native said he has talked to veteran pitcher Bartolo Colon, whom Matz has talked to regarding his condition.
"Yeah, I was talking to Bartolo. He's had stuff like this taken out and he's pitched through it. I know some other guys I've talked to that have dealt with the same thing," Matz said. "I think that's one thing I talked about with Terry that we're going to just treat this like I'm cleared to go. We're going to put this behind me, we're going to keep it in mind, but we're going to try to keep the rotation in order. That's ultimately up to them, but that's my mindset too... If I'm good, then I'm good."
Alderson said Syndergaard has a very small spur in the back of his elbow. "There is no structural damage," said Alderson, who added the right-hander will take anti-inflammatory medicine.
The Nationals have right-hander Stephen Strasburg on the disabled list, but have ace Scherzer ready to pitch the series finale Wednesday against the Mets. Washington will seek a sweep after winning on Monday and Tuesday.