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Mets pitchers Noah Syndergaard, Carlos Carrasco: Positive progression in injury rehab

Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard during a spring training

Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard during a spring training workout at Clover Park in Port St. Lucie, Florida, Wednesday March 10, 2021. Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa Loarca

In a light drizzle during an otherwise unremarkable Saturday morning for the Mets, Noah Syndergaard played catch in the outfield at Yankee Stadium, a positive sign in his delayed return from Tommy John surgery more than 15 months ago.

Syndergaard has been throwing lightly for about a week, manager Luis Rojas said. That is a week-plus ahead of the schedule the team revealed in late May, when he was shut down for an alleged six weeks because of inflammation in his right elbow.

The Mets expect Syndergaard back in early September.

"If you guys are seeing him throwing before the six weeks, it’s because that was the plan, just to bring him to play light catch and start like stretching out," Rojas said. "And then the six weeks was actually when he would play catch, where he’s distancing more and letting it go better, all those things."

Already playing catch from 75 feet, Syndergaard will wait another week or two before throwing from the slope of the mound, according to Rojas.

Carrasco closer

The Mets expect righthander Carlos Carrasco to make his team debut in late July or early August after an abbreviated rehabilitation assignment.

Out since mid-March with a torn right hamstring, Carrasco could be activated before he is fully stretched out to the usual six or so innings, in effect finishing his rehab in the majors.

"That’s something that he’s done in the past and him and I, from having conversations, he’s OK with doing that, as well — coming to the big-league level, doing the three innings and progressing, as well, while he’s pitching here," Rojas said.

Carrasco threw his second full bullpen session Saturday. In his first, Rojas said, his "fastball velocity was similar to where it is in midseason."

Peterson details

Lefthander David Peterson was diagnosed with a grade 1-2 right oblique strain, Rojas said. The Mets are taking a week-to-week approach with him.

Rojas said Peterson’s injury is "a little bit less severe" than the one suffered by infielder Luis Guillorme in late April. Guillorme missed six weeks.

"These things are usually up to eight weeks, but they think it’s going to be a lot less than that, just don’t want to commit to an exact time line on when we can get him back," Rojas said.

Rotation rejiggering

The Mets’ new Sunday pitching plan: Marcus Stroman in the first game of a double-header against the Yankees, TBA for the nightcap.

Rojas said it likely will be a bullpen game, with long reliever Corey Oswalt the leading candidate to pitch first. They will hold previously scheduled starter Tylor Megill for Monday against the Brewers.

That tweak happened because the Mets, needing a starter for Monday, anyway, wanted to take advantage of the seven-inning doubleheader games.

Minors changes loom

Owner Steve Cohen said he is "looking into" the organization’s treatment of minor-leaguers after a group called Advocates for Minor Leaguers called out the Mets for penny-pinching.

The Mets provide no housing stipend for players in Triple-A, Double-A or Low-A, according to the group, which uses the Twitter account @MiLBAdvocates. In High-A, the team hotel is not fully covered, and in extended spring training, players are not paid. The Phillies, for example, provide a housing stipend or fully cover the cost of a hotel at every level.

"We are looking into this and will have a comprehensive response by late next week," Cohen tweeted Saturday afternoon. "This was news to me and [I] want to be thoughtful and not reactive in my actions. We need to examine our treatment of coaches, too."

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