NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — To say the Mets have been decimated by injuries this season is an understatement, but their latest one is if nothing else confusing.
Following New York’s brutal 11-4 loss in Washington on Monday night, a game the Mets actually led 4-0, starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard refuted a report that said he is suffering from a bone spur or bone chips in his pitching elbow. The injury is similar to the one plaguing Steven Matz, who had another MRI earlier Monday.
Syndergaard left last Wednesday’s start against Kansas City after six innings due to an apparent elbow problem. An MRI later revealed no structural damage and he resumed normal activities.
But he looked out of sorts throughout his 71-pitch, three-inning effort on Monday, and went on the defensive when he met with reporters after the game.
“I do not, no. My arm feels great,” Syndergaard said, when asked about possibly have a bone spur. “No, there is nothing structurally wrong with (the elbow), wear and tear will do it to you. My arm feels really good. I just have to get ready to go in five days.”
The problem is the Mets later confirmed that he is in fact suffering from the reported elbow ailment. It’s possible Syndergaard just doesn’t view the issue as a big deal. Hence the answer he gave to the question.
“I don’t really know what his is,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “Like I said his is fine, it flares up. Like tonight, he said he felt fine.”
According to the Daily News, the Mets have spoken to doctors and Syndergaard and Matz are not in danger of suffering more serious injuries if they continue to pitch. Though they both could need surgery at some point down the road to remove the growths, they can keep taking the mound. They’ll just need to deal with pain from time to time.
“(Syndergaard) knows there is no damage, except he has this small issue he has to deal with and deal with the symptoms, which is discomfort,” Collins said.
Syndergaard was yanked from Monday’s start after allowing five earned runs, seven hits and three walks in his three innings.
The hard-throwing right-hander has been the Mets’ unquestioned ace all season, which is why the latest revelation about his pitching elbow, regardless of the severity of the situation, comes as very disconcerting news to a team expected to get back to the World Series for a second straight season.
As CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez explained, bone spurs, also called osteophytes are pretty much what they sound like — a small, bony growth formed on or sticking out of normal bone.
They can form on almost any bone but are common on the spine or the heel where they are part of what’s called plantar fasciitis, a common and painful condition.
In the case of major league pitchers you can form spurs in the elbow as the spurs tend to form wherever bone rubs on bone — as in osteoarthritis — or where tendons and ligaments attach to bones and there’s pressure, rubbing or overuse of soft tissue.
The stress major league pitchers put on the ligaments and bones of the elbow can lead to inflammation and as the body tries to repair the irritation it deposits calcium at the location which can form a spur.
Treatment for bone spurs includes rest, anti-inflammatory medication, cortisone injections, and as a last resort, surgery to grind away the spur.
The Mets, who are just four games out of first in the NL East despite their laundry list of problems, have banked on starting pitching in lieu of an everyday lineup that has been besieged by one injury after another. They are currently without first baseman Lucas Duda (back), third baseman David Wright (neck) and outfielder Juan Lagares (thumb). They only recently got catcher Travis d’Arnaud back following a long rehab for a rotator cuff strain and late last week got a scare when slugger Yoenis Cespedes suffered a wrist sprain.