Injuries happen, but spring training injuries seem to hurt the worst. Just ask Calgary Inferno starter Rod ‘Punchy’ Matos, who learned his fate from team doctors today – radial nerve surgery would take him out for all of 2017.
Matos pitched 2.1 solid innings against Norfolk this afternoon, allowing just one run on a hit and three walks, while sitting down three batters. At the time he came out of the game, he had just walked Shortstop Danny Sanchez on four straight balls, just after striking out 3B Nam-shik Kym, normally a tough out.
Calgary reliever Jack Lavigne came in to continue the third inning, while Matos was looked over by team doctors.
Inferno trainer Steve Markham and bench coach Ryan Danton made the announcement after the game, however, after tests confirmed a compressed radial nerve in Matos’ pitching arm, which would require decompression surgery.
The news comes as a blow to the Calgary organization, which had just signed Matos to a 2-year contract during the off-season, worth $14.4 million a year. The three-time Bull Cup champion, and 2014 LL Sandy Koufax Award winner, was to have slotted in the #2 or #3 spot in the Calgary rotation, after he ended his time with Montreal Metros after 10 successful seasons there.
Calgary, who were Bull Cup finalists and AEL Champions last year, will look to bolster the missing rotation slot created by Matos’ injury, currently headed by Matthew Rendall and former Seattle Salts Enrique Nunez.
Right-hander Josh Carey, who is 1-0 this spring, with an ERA of 3.00, after five appearances, is a possible successor. At AAA-level Halifax last season, Carey went 2-2 and 3.41, crafting 34 K’s over 37.0 innings.