NEW YORK (AP) Mets pitcher Steven Matz needs another elbow operation, ending a miserable season for the New York left-hander.
Matz was diagnosed Monday with irritation of the ulnar nerve in his left elbow, the team said. Surgery was recommended to reposition the nerve and relieve the irritation, a similar procedure to the one teammate Jacob deGrom had last year.
''It's tough, but I've talked to some guys who have had this procedure done before and they came back feeling good and it solved the problem. I'm happy there's an answer to it,'' Matz said. ''I'm definitely really optimistic.''
Healthy this season, deGrom has bounced back to go 13-7 with a 3.49 ERA in 165 innings. Matz said his buddy told him the recovery and rehab is simple.
Matz's operation will be scheduled in the next few days. The oft-injured lefty is 2-7 with a 6.08 ERA in 13 starts covering only 66 2/3 innings. He has been hit hard lately, going 0-6 with a 10.19 ERA in his last eight outings.
''I don't want to speculate and use it as an excuse because I was doing everything I could to get out there and pitch. To say that this was affecting me on the mound, I don't know,'' Matz said.
Mets manager Terry Collins said recently that Matz will never be 100 percent after having multiple elbow operations, and he was learning how to pitch with discomfort.
The 26-year-old Matz had Tommy John surgery early in his pro career. His 2016 season was cut short by shoulder tightness and another elbow operation to remove bone spurs. He began this year on the disabled list because of elbow inflammation and made his season debut June 10.
''Just from talking to other guys I thought maybe this could be possible, but I wasn't sure. I just figured I had a surgery this offseason and it was just something I had to work through this year,'' Matz said. ''I did not have any numbness. That's why it was kind of non-typical symptoms.''
The news on Matz is the latest setback for an injury-ravaged Mets pitching staff. New York (54-69) began the season with World Series aspirations, but deGrom is the only starter remaining from the projected five-man rotation. Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler are on the disabled list, and Matz will soon join them.
Seth Lugo also is sidelined, and another reinforcement, rookie Robert Gsellman, recently returned from a long stint on the DL due to a hamstring injury.
Matz was scratched from his scheduled start Tuesday night against Arizona. He will be replaced by journeyman left-hander Tommy Milone, who just returned from the DL after recovering from a knee injury.
''I was surprised,'' Collins said after Monday night's loss to Arizona in 10 innings. ''I knew that if that was the case, if it was a nerve, they were going to have to move it because that's what they do. But when I talked to Steven after he got back from the doctors he kind of insinuated that was a real possibility. We're certainly very optimistic that that might be an answer that we've been looking for. Jake certainly said that it really helped him. Erik Goeddel has had it done. He said it made a difference with him, so hopefully this might be an answer that lets Steven's elbow feel a lot better next year.''
Matz had an MRI and CT scan Monday at the Hospital for Special Surgery. He was given an injection for diagnostic purposes, the Mets said.
''The symptoms weren't necessarily leading to the nerve,'' Matz said. ''I got an MRI and an MRI doesn't show that from what I understand. So today they kind of used the last bullet and did the nerve test. Putting an injection in there and kind of numbing the nerve up and that kind of caused relief. That's why we are where we are.
''The doctor told me that if you feel relief from this then that's something to put our finger on. When I got up after the injection . I felt fine. I knew that that's what it was and it was definitely a relief to have an answer.''
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