MIAMI — Even if Noah Syndergaard returns to the mound this season — which the Mets still expect — he’ll likely be capped at two innings. Yet, Syndergaard and team officials remain in agreement that coming back in any capacity is a better option than shutting him down.
“I think it’s just like a personal thing for me,” Syndergaard said Monday after his simulated game at Marlins Park. “I’m getting really anxious. I spent three or four months. At this point right now if they’re just going to shut me down then really what was the whole point of all of that? I’ve worked hard in the rehab process. I really want to go out there and prove that I can come back from that kind of injury healthy.”
Syndergaard threw 39 pitches in the two-inning sim game Monday afternoon, perhaps the final hurdle he must clear before pitching in a big league game for the first time since partially tearing his right lat muscle in April.
If Syndergaard emerges from the throwing session with no problems, he appears lined up to pitch as early as the upcoming weekend series against the Nationals at Citi Field. He hadn’t faced batters since his minor-league rehab assignment.
First base coach Tom Goodwin and short-season hitting coordinator Ryan Ellis functioned as stand-ins for Syndergaard, who pitched in a sleeveless shirt with the roof open at Marlins Park. Pitching coach Dan Warthen called balls and strikes from behind the mound while a few players watched from behind the cage.
“I felt really good,” said Syndergaard, who threw all his pitches. “I got to throw to some coaches, that was kind of fun. Tried to embarrass them. But they held their own pretty much. Anyway, I felt like it was a really good step in the right direction. The most important thing is right now I’m feeling healthy. A little rusty in terms of mechanics.”
Manager Terry Collins said a return for Syndergaard is important not just for the pitcher but for the Mets.
Said Collins: “The only way we know what we’re looking at all winter long is to see what we’re looking at at the end of the year.”