Matz has elbow soreness, to skip start

Rookie left-hander will be examined by team doctors

Matz has elbow soreness, to skip start

LOS ANGELES -- Steven Matz's flirtation with a, full, healthy season ended abruptly Wednesday, when the Mets announced that Matz will miss his next start because of left elbow soreness. Matz and manager Terry Collins downplayed the issue's severity. The rookie left-hander will be examined Monday by team doctors in New York.

Matz, 24, initially complained of upper forearm soreness in the area of his elbow following his Monday victory over the Dodgers. He has not undergone an MRI in the interim, but may do so when the team arrives back in New York. In Matz's absence, right-hander Logan Verrett will start Saturday at Coors Field.

"It was enough concern for me to say something to the trainers," Matz said. "It was just sore, so I said something."

Collins noted that while Matz's discomfort had subsided by Wednesday afternoon, the team does not want to take any chances with its hard-throwing rookie. Last year, Matz complained of minor left lat soreness following his Major League debut, but pitched anyway five games later. He wound up missing more than two months with a muscle tear.

"Sometimes it's easy to go through some nagging stuff," Matz said. "But last year, I tried to push through it and ended up missing two months. It's better to play it safe and give it the rest when I need it."

"He said today he feels 100 percent better than he did yesterday," added Collins. "That's still not good enough for me. I'm not looking at the same situation we did last year, where he felt real good and we said, 'Hey, go get 'em again,' and the next thing we know he's out for two months."

Instead, Collins said, the Mets will "err on the side of caution" with a pitcher whose lengthy injury history includes a 2010 Tommy John surgery that resulted in a complicated recovery. Since that time, Matz has endured various maladies, including last year's lat strain and a lower-back issue that put his postseason availability in jeopardy.

Yet over the past three seasons, Matz has worked hard to set aside his injury-prone reputation, reestablishing his prospect star enough to come into this year a legitimate National League Rookie of the Year candidate. He was 5-1 with a 2.86 ERA in six starts prior to his injury, 9-1 with a 2.56 mark for his career, and 9-2 with a 2.75 ERA including three playoff starts last October.

Since complaining to trainers earlier this week, Matz has undergone a regimen of anti-inflammatory medication that he believes is helping. Matz plans to test his elbow Thursday with a light game of catch, prior to visiting doctors Monday in New York.

"As a player, I want to go out and I want to pitch my next start, especially with the way I've been feeling out there and the way my stuff's been," Matz said. "But it's not worth it to risk it right now."

Verrett, 25, has already made two successful spot starts for the Mets this season. He is 3-0 with a 1.27 ERA overall for the Mets, and burst onto the club's consciousness with eight innings of one-run ball in a spot start for Matt Harvey in August. The site? Coors Field, where Verrett will pitch Saturday.

Despite the Mets' confidence in Verrett, however, Matz's absence means they will need to play shorthanded for the final five days of their 11-game road trip. To that end, a team official said the club may soon promote left-hander Sean Gilmartin from Triple-A Las Vegas. Mets infielder Wilmer Flores said after Wednesday's 4-3 win over the Dodgers that he injured his leg Monday and is headed to the DL.

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.