Noah Syndergaard demoted, but not dejected
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PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - The Mets made sure to instill an important message Tuesday morning when they sent down top pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard -- "We'll see you soon."
"It's a good thing to hear," Syndergaard told reporters shortly after he was sent to minor-league camp.
The move had been expected, with the 21-year-old Syndergaard slated to begin the season in Triple-A Las Vegas. He posted a 5.19 ERA in 8 2/3 innings, which was inflated by one rough outing. Nevertheless, he impressed the Mets, both with his stuff on the mound and his demeanor off it.
"There's a sense of relief just knowing that my repertoire of pitches, my demeanor on the mound, opens eyes up in the big leagues, opens eyes of the big-league hitters," Syndergaard said. "It's just a lot of confidence going into minor-league camp knowing that I had some pretty great success in big-league camp."
Each of Syndergaard's appearances this spring generated plenty of hype, no different from the levels generated by Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler before him. But manager Terry Collins said Syndergaard showed poise while dealing with all the fanfare.
"He dealt with it like he's been here a long time," Collins said. "He was very, very impressive."
Syndergaard credited Harvey for dispensing useful advice during camp.
Harvey encouraged the righthander to consider backing off some of his weight room work. He also told Syndergaard not to be discouraged about beginning the season in the minors.
"He did great," Harvey said. "He went out there and did his job. He's a hard worker, obviously. It seemed like every day he was leaving here with a completely sweaty shirt. You know the work ethic is not an issue."
The Mets likely won't call up Syndergaard until sometime midseason, which allows the team to keep him from qualifying for arbitration a year early. It is a common tactic used by teams that want to keep their best prospects under control.
"It's always disappointing when you get a taste of being in the big-league clubhouse, getting the treatment like a big-leaguer gets, and then you've got to go back over to the minor-league side, where things aren't so glamorous," said Syndergaard, who allowed a run in a minor-league intrasquad game Tuesday. "So that's kind of disappointing. But I kind of knew it was coming."
Notes & quotes: Ike Davis (calves) and Lucas Duda (hamstring) have a chance of returning to spring training games Thursday, Collins said. Davis went 1-for-7 in minor-league action Tuesday and Duda went 1-for-4 with a homer. Neither ran the bases . . . Jon Niese expects to resume throwing soon after an MRI on his elbow revealed inflammation but no structural damage . . . The Mets' cuts included first basemen Matt Clark and Brandon Allen, catcher Juan Centeno and pitchers Joel Carreno, Ryan Reid, Cory Mazzoni, Miguel Socolovich and Rafael Montero.