Although large collagen fibers in myocardial infarct scar are highly organized, little is known about mechanisms controlling this organization. The preexisting extracellular matrix may act as a scaffold along which fibroblasts migrate. Conversely, deformation within the ischemic area could guide fibroblasts so new collagen is oriented to counteract the stretch. To investigate these potential mechanisms, we infarcted three groups of pigs. Group 1 served as infarct controls. Group 2 had the endocardium slit longitudinally to alter local systolic deformation. Group 3 had a plug sectioned from ischemic tissue and rotated 90°. The slit altered systolic deformation in the infarcted tissue, changing circumferential strain from expansion to compression and increasing radial strain and shears and the variability of collagen fiber angles but not the mean angle. In the plug pigs, when deformation, matrix orientation, and continuity are altered in the infarct area, the result is complete disarray in the organization of collagen within the infarct scar.