NEW YORK -- Mets general manager Sandy Alderson acknowledged the presence of bone spurs in the back of the pitching elbows of Steven Matz and Noah Syndergaardbut said he expected the duo will continue pitching.
Alderson indicated that Matz's spur is more significant and he will need to have it surgically removed, though the hope is it can wait until after the season. Surgery would require a three-month recovery time, so any in-season procedure would end at least Matz's 2016 regular-season contribution.
Alderson described Syndergaard's bone spur as "very small" and suggested 90 percent of major league pitchers have something comparable. Syndergaard is being treated with anti-inflammatory medication. He will not need to have the spur removed during the offseason, the GM said.
Matz had been scheduled to face the Washington Nationals in Wednesday's series finale. Instead, Logan Verrett will make a spot start that day and Matz will be pushed back to Thursday's series opener against the Chicago Cubs at Citi Field. The Mets have "absolute assurance" from team doctors that Matz cannot damage his elbow by continuing to pitch with the spur, Alderson added.
"If I'm claiming to be able to pitch, then I have no excuses," Matz said. "I expect myself to go out and pitch like I can."
Alderson said that in Matz's case it really is about pain tolerance.
"At this point it's a function of whether he can tolerate the discomfort while continuing to pitch," Alderson said. "What we will do is monitor that level of discomfort, monitor his mechanics to make sure whatever discomfort he has doesn't cause him to do something that might lead to something else, and we'll monitor it on a start-by-start basis."
On Syndergaard, Alderson added: "He doesn't have the level of discomfort that Steven does. And it's really insignificant."
Syndergaard had denied on Tuesday the existence of a spur.
"I think really what he's been trying to do is not use that as an excuse for the fact that, for example, last night he didn't pitch particularly well," Alderson said.
Alderson said the Mets will consider going to a six-man rotation at some point, potentially when Zack Wheeler returns from Tommy John surgery in August, but the team should not need to regularly skip or otherwise delay Matz's starts.
"We think moving him back a day in this particular instance is the right thing to do, but we don't expect it will necessarily be anything on a regular basis," Alderson said. "Now, it may be at some point that we go to a six-man rotation or something else to address the situation. It may be Steven comes out after five or six as opposed to six or seven [innings], but those are things that we'll have to continue to monitor from start to start."
Syndergaard regularly touched 100 mph during Tuesday's outing while allowing five runs on seven hits and three walks in three innings. It was the shortest start of Syndergaard's career other than a game in which he was ejected for throwing behind the Dodgers' Chase Utley. Manager Terry Collins said he believes Syndergaard's struggles stemmed from overthrowing to prove his elbow was OK and because of the magnitude of the game against the first-place Nationals, not because anything was wrong with the elbow.
Collins added that Syndergaard will not be impeded from participating in the All-Star Game.
Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz each have bone spurs in elbow