ABERDEEN, Md. — Noah Syndergaard took the field Tuesday night at a stadium named after a guy who was famous for never getting hurt.
The Mets don’t need Syndergaard to play 2,632 consecutive games like Cal Ripken Jr. did. But pitching every fifth day would be nice.
Syndergaard thinks he can get back on that schedule as soon as this weekend. The rehabbing righthander struck out nine in five innings as the Brooklyn Cyclones beat the host IronBirds, 7-6, in a New York-Penn League game at Ripken Stadium.
“I’ll be ready to rock as soon as the team allows it,” said Syndergaard, who last pitched for the Mets on June 15. Does that mean Sunday? “I think that’s probably right. I’m not too sure, though.”
Syndergaard’s fastball sat in the high 90s and he generated plenty of weak contact against the Orioles’ short-season Class A affiliate. He allowed three runs and five hits, including a two-run home in the fifth inning. He threw 67 pitches — 56 strikes against just 11 balls. He had his glove knocked off by a hard-hit grounder in the second inning, but recovered easily and nimbly retired the batter at first.
“I felt great,” Syndergaard said. “Nothing that I can feel in my hamstrings. No limitations. Didn’t feel timid out there on the mound. I was able to accomplish what I wanted to do.”
Gavin Cecchini, who last played for the Mets in 2017 and was playing in his first game all year following a quad injury, put the Cyclones ahead with an RBI single in the first. Ranfy Adon added a two-run homer.
After being pulled, Syndergaard took his time in the visitors’ clubhouse. Perhaps he was enjoying the temporary peace and quiet.
According to reports, Syndergaard, along with Carlos Gomez, got in between Jason Vargas after the pitcher threatened a Newsday reporter following Sunday’s game. Syndergaard was asked whether that was him just trying to defuse a tense situation.
“A little bit,” Syndergaard said. “We’re just trying to move past it.”
Syndergaard can certainly help the Mets move past their off-field drama if he’s on the field Sunday, when the Mets host Atlanta.
His next start will come under a new pitching coach. The Mets replaced Dave Eiland with Phil Regan, who coached Syndergaard in the minors, on Thursday.
“He’s just a guru,” Syndergaard said. “He’s a great guy and I look forward to working with him more.”