NEW YORK— Mets pitcher Steven Matz needs another elbow operation, almost certainly 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.
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.
“It’s not a good feeling. I haven’t gotten hit like this before in my career,” Matz said last week after his most recent start, a loss to the New York Yankees. “It is tough, but I never want to say I’m lost. I’m not a guy who’s going to quit like that. I just want to think I’m one step away from what I can be and it will just click.”
Mets manager Terry Collins said recently that Matz will never be 100 per cent 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.
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.
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.