After Saturday’s loss to the Yankees, the Mets knew they were likely going to lose a reliever to the injured list.
By Sunday morning, they made it two.
Steven Matz (left shoulder discomfort) and Dellin Betances (right lat tightness) were both placed on the injured list Sunday before the Mets’ doubleheader at Yankee Stadium, taking two key pieces away from their bullpen. Both were scheduled to see a doctor Monday.
Betances, who allowed the Yankees to walk off with a win Saturday on his wild pitch, suffered a right lat strain last year during his injury-riddled season in The Bronx. But manager Luis Rojas said he didn’t believe there was a correlation between last year’s injury carrying over into this one.
“As of right now, it’s not of my knowledge that we’ve discussed that it was an issue or we knew anything about this previously, [before] this morning,” Rojas said. “I always saw him trying to correct himself from finishing out there. I don’t know if this is the thing that was challenging him from getting out to his release point, especially with his fastball.”
Betances’ fastball velocity had been down this season while allowing seven earned runs in 10 1/3 innings, consistently pitching in the seventh and eighth innings. He had thrown just 2/3 of an inning in 2019 after battling right shoulder impingement, a bone spur in his shoulder, the strained lat and then a partially torn Achilles.
The Mets recalled Drew Smith and Franklyn Kilome from the alternate site to replace Betances and Matz in the bullpen.
Matz had pitched a scoreless inning of relief Saturday, his first since transitioning to the bullpen, but did not go back out for a second after experiencing discomfort in his throwing shoulder. He said Sunday he first felt it in his last start — Aug. 15 in Philadelphia — and got an MRI when the Mets came back from their COVID-19 shutdown, but thought he was feeling better until pitching Saturday.
“I got to a spot where I told them I was good to go out of the bullpen and I guess I maybe wasn’t ready to ramp it up yet,” Matz said.
Matz said he was feeling about as good as he has in his career coming into spring training 2.0, but the results didn’t back that up. So he began putting in more work in between starts, he said, which may have ultimately backfired on him.
“Before that Philly start, I think I overdid it a little too much throwing-wise,” he said. “I’m pretty bummed about it, definitely.”
Matz and manager Luis Rojas said Matz’s initial discomfort was not a factor in moving him to the bullpen, which the left-hander had taken in stride.
“Whatever they need of me I’m going to do,” Matz said. “Just want to do the best I can out of the bullpen and go from there. But ultimately I like starting. That’s my goal as a big league player.”
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