LHP Steven Matz is doing what he can to avoid a year full of injuries like he experienced in 2016.
"I think it's the difference between working hard and working smart," Matz told Newsday's David Lennon. "I've got to just know that what works for me and what doesn't. Even if something may be beneficial to get me stronger, it could possibly throw off something else."
"When I try to muscle up or do any of that, I kind of fight myself," he continues. "I'm definitely going to try to stay within myself when I'm feeling healthy."
Matz had surgery in late-September to remove a large bone spur from his pitching elbow. He ended his season early due to a rotator cuff impingement, which Sandy Alderson said in November did not require surgery. Instead, Matz received a platelet-rich plasma injection in his left shoulder.
Feb 22, 2016; Matz (32) throws during a work out at Tradition Field. Credit: Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
"I try to take all aspects of it, nutrition, strength conditioning and the baseball work,'' Matz told Kevin Kernan of the NY Post Wednesday. "I don't think there is one thing that has caused me to get hurt the past couple of years, it's just the way it is, but I think I can learn some things from last year."
Maggie Wiggin: Matz understandably fell short of his ridiculous 2.27 ERA from his debut year, but his 3.40 ERA was solid, backed up by a strikeout per inning and a strikeout-to-walk ratio that puts him in the company of ace-level performers like Yu Darvish, Johnny Cueto, and Corey Kluber. He generated ground balls and softly-hit balls at an elite level, which kept his home run rate low.
He doesn't get a ton of swings-and-misses, but he keeps hitters off-balance with four above-average pitches, including a slider that took a big step forward this past season. Going into the 2017 season, Matz's health will remain a question mark, as it very likely will until he demonstrates the ability to stay on the field for a full season. >> Read more from Dec. 29.