LHP Steven Matz, 2009 Mets Top Pick, Out For Season
Mack from Mack’s Mets spoke to Steven Matz who will be shutdown for the rest of the 2011 season.
Matz: - Hey Mack, yeah, my season is definitely going to be over. I was back in simulated games in May, and I seemed to be fine. My velocity on all my pitches was back and even a little higher, but it started to hurt again. I got a second opinion from Dr Andrews and he said its just not 100% healed yet. I got a prp injection and have to rest six weeks. It’s beyond frustrating, but there’s really nothing else I can do.
Unfortunate, to say the least. We hope he returns strong next season and that the pain goes away soon. Here is an interview we did with him last month.
Interview With Mets 2009 Top Draft Pick, RHP Steven Matz
Back in 2009, the name “Steven Matz” was a popular topic amongst Mets fans. The second-round pick was dominant at Ward-Melville High School on Long Island and appeared to be a candidate to shoot through the minor leagues and contribute for the big club.
However, an elbow injury delayed the start of his career, so much so that he underwent Tommy John Surgery in May 2010.
I caught up with Matz, who is a terrific young man, to see how his rehab was going and to gauge his thoughts on what it was like being a Mets fans growing up who was then drafted by the Mets.
In his senior year of high school, more and more scouts began showing up at his starts after good showings at summer showcases. Matz only gave up two earned runs that entire season, which propelled his draft status. He was notified before the draft that the Mets were prepared to select him with the 72nd overall pick.
“It was pretty exciting because a lot of my family members are big fans too,” Matz said. “It’s pretty much every kid’s dream, especially getting picked by your own team.”
Growing up, Matz was a huge fan of lefty starting pitchers but mainly Johan Santana. Santana was playing with the Twins, but Matz emulated the crafty lefty, especially in developing a nasty changeup.
When the Mets acquired Santana via trade in 2008, Matz was super excited. Little did he know that he would be learning from Santana just one year later. Matz has absorbed Santana’s knowledge and will continue learning from the veteran hurler.
Matz fondly remembers that 2000 Subway Series World Series. However, we both agreed that we wish it could’ve ended differently.
As for his rehab, Matz has experienced a few setbacks that may prolong his minor league debut. He was facing hitters several weeks ago, but a scar tissue breakup has forced him to refrain from throwing.
“It’s been a little bit of a rocky road,” said Matz. “It [his arm] was finally feeling really good, and I guess I had a little bit more scar tissue, so hopefully I can get past that again.”
Still, Matz is only 20 years old, and the Mets brass has preached patience to him. He’s itching to see live game action, but he realizes that his patience will pay off.
“That’s the key really because I started when I was 18 and now I’m 20 and I still haven’t even thrown a professional pitch,” Matz said.
During his rehab, Matz has confided in former Met pitcher and current minor league pitching coordinator Randy Niemann. Niemann has been very supportive of Matz and has encouraged him to stay the course and good things will happen.
“He’s [Niemann] been real helpful to me along the way in reiterating that that you have to be very patient, and it will come,” said Matz.
Niemann has assisted Matz in developing a curveball. In high school, Matz was a fastball-changeup pitcher since he merely overpowered opposing hitters. However, He has realized that at this level, he needs a more diverse. When the pitch is properly developed, Matz will use his curveball as his strikeout pitch.
Though his 2011 debut remains uncertain, the next step for Matz is to get healthy. The little bumps in the road have been a nuisance, but Matz is willing to remain patient if it means returning at full-strength.
“I’ve done everything I possibly could, and if it’s not going to work out then that’s what it’s meant to be,” Matz said. “At the end of the day, you know you tried as hard as you possibly could to get back, and hopefully it will pay off.”
It’s this attitude that will allow Matz to recover from injury and embark on his professional career. His goal for the end of this season is to be fully healthy, whether or not that includes some live game action at one of the Mets short season Single-A affiliates.
“I’d like to end the season off on a good note, hopefully 100 percent,” said Matz.
If he continues along the path to recovery, Matz will be ready to compete in spring training next year to show he is ready. Just like he has been these last two years, we Met fans need to be patient with Matz.
After speaking with him, I can tell he’ll do whatever it takes to have a successful career. Good luck to Steven as he continues his rehab and prepares for his first professional start, which will hopefully be sometime this summer.
Follow me on Twitter @JMMancari.
About the Author: Jim Mancari
Jim Mancari hails from Massapequa, N.Y. He recently earned a Master's degree in Journalism at Hofstra University. He is a devout Mets fan and takes pride in his team, despite their lack of success over the last few years. Like all Mets fans, Jim has plenty of hope. He also writes as the sports reporter for the Brooklyn Tablet newspaper and the senior editor of metroBASEBALL Magazine. Click my name to view my personal website.
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