Of the two fingers that derailed 40 percent of the Mets’ rotation, one is feeling better and the other less so.
Steven Matz (strained left middle finger) is ahead of schedule and penciled in to make his start Sunday afternoon. He threw Thursday and plans to throw a light bullpen session Friday before facing the Cubs.
Noah Syndergaard (strained right index finger) is further away from an undetermined return, but he said he is feeling better compared to when he first experienced the issue in his start last Friday night against Milwaukee.
“Right now, I may miss one or two starts. I’m not really sure when I’ll start again,” Syndergaard said. “I felt like I definitely could have [made the scheduled start Wednesday]. But when I mentioned it to the staff, they did a good job taking precautionary measures so something catastrophic didn’t happen.”
Syndergaard indicated the finger issue is not a problem for pitching, because he doesn’t use it to put pressure on the baseball. “I hold it like an egg to be free and easy with my arm,” Syndergaard said.
Matz, though, needs his middle finger, saying, “That’s where all the pressure on the baseball is, so I was a little worried.”
General manager Sandy Alderson called it a “very slight, modest” finger strain, but manager Mickey Callaway said Thursday marked a significant step forward for Matz.
“A lot more comfortable than a couple of days ago,” Callaway said. “Even more comfortable than a couple of hours ago once he came in, felt no symptoms at all, feels normal, going to play catch today. He’s in a really good spot.”
Several other Mets on the disabled list are close to returning to the majors.
Righthander Anthony Swarzak (strained left oblique) is scheduled to pitch for Triple-A Las Vegas on Friday and Sunday, then could be activated from the 60-day DL.
Third baseman Todd Frazier (strained left hamstring) started his rehab assignment Thursday night for Las Vegas. He went 1-for-3 with an RBI.
Alderson said he is surprised at how long it is taking leftfielder Yoenis Cespedes (strained right hip flexor) to heal but hopes he’ll be back soon. The Mets have not revealed a timeline for Cespedes’ return.
“I won’t say that he’s close — I don’t think he’s as close as Frazier, for example — but I don’t think he’s that far away,” Alderson said. “I’m hopeful he’ll be ready to go in the not-too-distant future.”
Alderson on the Mets’ pitching depth: “I’m actually not as concerned about our relief pitching and that depth as I am about the fact that our starting pitching has not been going even five innings consistently.” . . . Luis Guillorme’s advance to second on defensive indifference in the ninth inning Tuesday night has been changed to a steal, the first stolen base of his career . . . Callaway said the Mets will call up another bench player Friday. They played with only three reserves Wednesday and Thursday.