NEW YORK -- Steven Matz's National League Rookie of the Year campaign, and the rest of his season, is in jeopardy. The Mets have scratched Matz from his next scheduled start on Thursday against the Marlins, with manager Terry Collins going as far as to say Matz could be done for the year.
"His shoulder's not ready to go," Collins said. "He's too valuable down the road to continue to push it, and say, 'You're going out there anyway.'"
According to Matz, the left-hander is dealing with an impingement in his left shoulder, an injury that causes irritation in the rotator cuff. But it is an issue that requires "more rest" and "more therapy," Collins said -- not surgery. Matz is already tentatively scheduled for an operation to remove a bone spur from his elbow this offseason.
"I don't quite feel like I can let it go yet," Matz said. "I talked to them -- the training staff -- and that's the decision, just to give it some rest and let it calm down."
This season, Matz is 9-8 with a 3.40 ERA in 22 starts, spending the last eight days on the disabled list with what the Mets initially called left shoulder "tightness." The club was hopeful that Matz could return this week, going as far as to schedule him for a start on Thursday against the Marlins. But Matz felt tightness both over the weekend and during a bullpen session on Monday, forcing the club to shift Jacob deGrom's next start from Friday to Thursday.
Rookies Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo will remain in the rotation, pitching Saturday and Sunday, respectively. Those two should continue starting for as long as Matz is sidelined.
That, Collins said, could be the rest of the season, even though Matz insists he'll be able to pitch again this season.
"We're not worried about rotator cuff stuff," Collins said. "We're not worried about torn labrums. We're worried about a stiffness in his shoulder that is keeping him from being confident that he can pitch."
The initial plan is for Matz to rest until this weekend, at which point he will throw off flat ground once more. If all goes well, Matz could return to the rotation as soon as next week.
But even if that is the case, Matz will have missed significant time in a season that was supposed to be his proving ground as a healthy pitcher. Famously injury-prone throughout his Minor League career, Matz has struggled to remain healthy since making his big league debut in June 2015.
"I would say it's really frustrating," Matz said. "You want to stay on the field. You want to be able to compete. That's something that I've kind of battled this year."
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.