MIAMI — Noah Syndergaard will face live hitters "soon," manager Luis Rojas said Thursday, but not too soon.
"I don’t think it’s next week yet, but that will be happening soon," he said.
In his 17th month of rehabilitation following March 2020 Tommy John surgery, Syndergaard has been traveling with the Mets and throwing bullpen sessions every few days, playing catch on the days in between.
Stepping on a mound and pitching to real, live hitters in the batter’s box is his next major step. Rojas said he wouldn’t reveal the Mets’ schedule for that to happen because "sometimes it changes for different reasons."
Before Syndergaard’s setback in May, the Mets planned for his minor-league rehab assignment would feature two starts of four innings each, two of five, etc. It is not clear of that is still their intention.
Brandon Nimmo and Jeff McNeil were out of the lineup for a 4-2 loss to the Marlins because the Mets wanted them to rest after their recent leg issues, Rojas said. He expects them to start all three games against the Phillies this weekend.
Put another way: They were going to sit at some point, and the noon game after a long night game — against a lesser team than the one they will play next — was the top choice.
"This is the day that makes the most sense," Rojas said.
Nimmo walked in a pinch-hit appearance. McNeil had a pinch strikeout.
As the rotation turns
The pitching matchups for a big Mets-Phillies series this weekend look like fun ones.
Marcus Stroman will face off against Kyle Gibson, a trade-deadline addition, on Friday.
On Saturday comes Tylor Megill against Ranger Suarez, who was briefly the Phillies’ closer but started a transition to the rotation this week.
And the finale on Sunday will feature Taijuan Walker against Zack Wheeler, an ex-Met and current NL Cy Young Award candidate.
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