Walker, it seems, has a fairly significant back issue that will need to be carefully managed for the rest of the season, Collins told reporters including Marc Carig of Newsday (via Twitter). The skipper declined to specify the precise issue, but suggested both that Walker will need regular time off and that it’s a matter of at least some long-term concern (via Mike Puma of the New York Post, on Twitter).
That’s pretty awful news both for the club and for Walker, who is a free agent after the season. The 30-year-old has been excellent in New York, slashing .282/.347/.476 over 458 plate appearances, and seemed primed to receive and decline a qualifying offer en route to a nice free agent payday. Instead, there’s now serious (albeit still largely-unknown) concern about his condition.
It’s a similar story with regard to Matz, who has suffered a setback in his effort to work back from shoulder issues. The problem isn’t believed to be a structural issue or major long-term issue, but Collins acknowledges that he’s concerned the young southpaw won’t be able to return in 2016, as MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo tweets.
The 25-year-old Matz has been excellent when healthy, pitching to a 3.16 ERA over 168 frames since reaching the majors last year. But he has battled through lat, elbow, and shoulder issues already in his brief MLB career.