PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Even sidelined by surgery, Noah Syndergaard comes up with feats of heat.
He touched 96 mph while "not at 100%" on Thursday, manager Luis Rojas said. The bullpen session was his second off the stadium mound at Clover Park, another small step on his rehabilitation checklist.
Out until at least June after Tommy John surgery last year — next Friday marks the one-year anniversary — Syndergaard’s comeback process still seems to be progressing smoothly.
"He’s such a hard worker," Rojas said. "He’s done a fine job to get to where he is today and he’s following the program."
He appeared pleased with his outing Thursday, performing for a small audience in an almost entirely empty and quiet ballpark. Pitching coach Jeremy Hefner and David Lang, the coordinator of pitching analytics, checked a computer set up in the dugout for the instantly available data after every pitch, sometimes offering claps and words of encouragement.
Syndergaard, who has not granted an interview in more than a year, has not faced hitters yet.
"Everything is going accordingly right now," Rojas said.
Smith still sitting
Leftfielder/first baseman Dominic Smith (sore right wrist) won’t be in the lineup until Sunday at the earliest, Rojas said. The Mets might have him ease into swinging a bat Saturday, but even that isn’t a sure thing.
"The approach with everyone is to make it out of here healthy," Rojas said. "That’s the approach with Dom and everybody else, but he’s doing his work defensively, which is something we prioritize as well."
Rojas isn’t worried about Smith’s readiness for the start of the regular season, though.
"This is a guy that clicks really quick into hitting," he said. "He's a natural, you could call him."
The Stro Show
In a 3-1 exhibition loss to the Nationals, Marcus Stroman became the first Mets pitcher of spring training to last five innings, allowing one run and two hits (including a home run from Kyle Schwarber). He struck out six and walked none.
"These are just reps," said Stroman, who has a 2.70 ERA in four starts. "So getting the up-and-downs, turning lineups over and getting ready for the season is the main goal."
Edwin Diaz worked around two hits in a scoreless inning, keeping intact his 0.00 ERA across four appearances. "I feel like I can do whatever I want," he said through an interpreter. "I feel like I’m the best pitcher out there." . . . Kevin Pillar’s decent camp continued with a 2-for-3 effort. He is hitting .348 with a .966 OPS . . . The Mets checked one of their administrative boxes Thursday morning, participating in a meeting about coronavirus-related protocols and watching the requisite video.