Steven Matz received an injection in his back yesterday in the hopes that he can recuperate quickly enough to pitch against the Dodgers in the NL Division Series, manager Terry Collins said before the doubleheader today.
Matz, who previously served a stint on the disabled list for a partially torn left lat muscle, woke up Tuesday morning with a pain in his upper back. The injury, previously downplayed my general manager Sandy Alderson, is now serious enough to cost him a spot in the rotation if he's not well enough to pitch in an instructional league game on Wednesday, Collins said.
"If he can't pitch Wednesday, there's a good chance he won't pitch," Collins said. "But if he can get an outing this week where he can throw 90 to 100 pitches by midweek, he'll be OK."
The injection, Collins said, is meant to relax the muscles in Matz's back. If he can pitch Wednesday, Collins was very open to considering the 24-year-old lefty for a possible Game 4 start. Matz, of Stony Brook, dominated the Dodgers in only his second major league start this year -- pitching six innings of two-hit ball, allowing no earned runs, with two walks and eight strikeouts. He's 4-0 this year with a 2.27 ERA.
"Steven Matz has pitched against the Los Angeles Dodgers and pitched very well," Collins said of starting Matz in the playoffs even though he hasn't been in a Major League game since September 24. "If he can get out there and we know he's physically able to pitch the way we know he's capable of, I don't care what the scenario is, this guy can go out and pitch a good ballgame. He's done it ... If Steven is physically ready to do it, it doesn't scare me to put him out there."