After having his start pushed back and then scratched altogether, Steven Matz received encouraging news: tests on his back came back negative. The rookie left-hander could return as soon as this weekend against the Nationals.
After reportedly feeling stiffness on the right side of his back Tuesday, Matz's injury caused significant concern despite his nonchalant attitude. "I’m not very concerned," Matz told the New York Times. "I know it’s going to go away. It’s just a matter of when."
While this report doesn't quell his injury concerns entirely, it certainly is a step in the right direction. If Matz's numbers through six big league starts are any indication, the Long Island native would be a postseason asset against the Dodgers. A strong weekend performance against the swooning Nationals could help Matz cement his role in the team's playoff rotation.
The Mets are turning to Sean Gilmartin to take Matz's place this afternoon against the Phillies. In what is shaping up to be a bullpen game, Tim Stauffer is scheduled to follow Gilmartin. After the Mets used eight men out of the bullpen in Wednesday's loss, they'll look at get as many innings as possible out of those two pitchers today.