Noah Syndergaard, coming off a COVID-19 diagnosis that temporarily waylaid his rehab, threw a bullpen earlier this week and threw another one Friday, and still hopes to return this season, he said.
"I got through the quarantine and that was the most difficult part," he said Friday while meeting with firefighters and their families in Woodside. "I had to rig up a mattress in my apartment to throw against and keep the arm going. I’m just itching to get back on my rehab program and get out there."
Syndergaard said that he lost taste and smell for about five days but was otherwise asymptomatic. As for his rehab, "I’m taking things day by day" but "I think I should have enough time [to return]. I’m optimistic about that."
Luis Rojas said there still wasn’t a timetable on his rehab assignment but he likes what he’s seen so far, adding that Syndergaard did a good job "keeping his arm in shape and himself in shape."
"Even though he lost time, we feel he might be able to pitch for us," Rojas said.
Syndergaard will be entering free agency after missing the better part of two seasons recovering from Tommy John surgery. Making a return to the field this year could help give him at least a sliver of more leverage as he looks for a home, either with a qualifying offer from the Mets or with a contract elsewhere.
He said that fact isn’t currently his focus, though.
"It’s more of a mental reward for me for all the hard work" if he returns, he said. "And it’s a bonus for me if I go out there and hopefully help the Mets win some meaningful baseball games … I think it’s really important for the future of my career but right now, [it’s more] like I haven’t pitched in two years."
Nimmo gets closer
Brandon Nimmo (hamstring) is expected to begin his rehab assignment soon with Triple-A Syracuse.
"He looks better than what we thought initially," Rojas said of the injury. "We may see him before the season’s over, let’s just say that. He’s healing quicker than what we expected."
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