Mets lefty Matz has bone spur in elbow, start pushed back

WASHINGTON (AP) New York Mets pitcher Steven Matz has a bone spur in his left elbow and will have his next start pushed back from Wednesday to Thursday.

Mets general manager Sandy Alderson says the 25-year-old lefty will continue pitching through the bone spur because doctors have assured the team he cannot do damage to it. The decision to push him back to face the Cubs was made to give him a day of extra rest and medication.

''He's going to have to deal with it because it's not going away,'' Mets manager Terry Collins said Tuesday.

If Matz were to undergo surgery to remove the spur, it would keep him out three months and effectively end his season. That's all the more motivation for Matz to power through the discomfort.

''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,'' Matz said. ''That's the mindset: Get it all behind me and just go out there and pitch.''

Matz is 7-3 with a 3.29 ERA this season and has been dealing with some discomfort for a few starts. The Mets will continue to monitor his status on a start-by-start basis.

''There's a lot of signs to look at,'' Collins said. ''You've got to take a look at location, is his velocity still up, is he using his secondary pitches. If his elbow starts to bother him, he backs off those secondary (pitches) because of the wear and tear that it takes to throw them. ... Certainly we've got to stay on top of it.''

Logan Verrett will start in the series finale against the Washington Nationals on Wednesday. Collins said the rest of the rotation will stay on schedule with an extra day of rest.

Matz will have to have the spur removed at some point, Alderson said. That's not the case for right-hander Noah Syndergaard, who also dealing with one in his pitching elbow, but Alderson said it's less significant than Matz's.

Alderson and Collins said Syndergaard struggling in a loss to the Nationals on Monday had nothing to do with the elbow and don't expect it to be an ongoing question.

''There's really no change in status on Noah,'' Alderson said. ''It's a very small spur that may exist with 90 percent of the pitchers that are throwing in Major League Baseball today.''

Alderson said that first baseman Lucas Duda is about two weeks away from resuming baseball activities. He's out long term with a stress fracture in his lower back.

Zack Wheeler threw Monday in Port St. Lucie, Florida, Alderson said, and there's no time frame on when the right-hander will be ready to return. Without Wheeler and with Matz and Syndergaard not 100 percent, the Mets will tax their bullpen more but are confident in their rotation.

''We have a less-than-perfect situation right now with the people that we have,'' Alderson said. ''It's certainly not ideal. But every team deals with this. We're still in pretty good shape.''

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