Noah Syndergaard, who limped off the mound with a strained right hamstring after throwing a pitch in the seventh inning at Citi Field on Saturday night, went on the Mets’ 10-day injured list Sunday morning.
After the Mets lost to the Cardinals, 4-3, in the series finale Sunday afternoon, Mickey Callaway said Syndergaard had an MRI and that it “hadn’t been read and diagnosed yet.” But when Syndergaard was asked if he had an understanding of the severity of the injury, he simply said, “It’s very mild.”
The Mets filled Syndergaard’s roster spot by activating Robinson Cano from the IL. But who will play the part of Syndergaard in the rotation? He was due to pitch Thursday night against the Cubs in Chicago.
“It’s always a hit when you lose one of your guys,” Callaway said. “But we have to have somebody step up in his place. We’re going to discuss the options. We have several that we could go to.”
The most intriguing is a 2016 first-round pick from Long Island. Anthony Kay, the Ward Melville alum from Stony Brook, dominated for Double-A Binghamton, going 7-3 with a 1.49 ERA in 12 starts. But in his first start after being promoted to Triple-A Syracuse, the 24-year-old lefthander got tagged for five runs and six hits in four innings on Friday in a loss to Gwinnett.
Time for his first major-league invite?
“I think we’ll probably throw his name around,” Callaway said. “But I think that Anthony probably needs a little more time.”
Walker Lockett, 25, who was acquired from the Indians in January, is on the 40-man roster. In his first taste of the big leagues last season with the Padres, he went 0-3 with a 9.60 ERA in four games, including three starts. The start of his 2019 season was delayed until May by elbow soreness. After beginning with two outings for St. Lucie, he has been pitching well for Syracuse, going 0-1 with a 3.28 ERA in four games, three of them starts.
“So he’s going to remain an option, obviously,” Callaway said.
Another option could be Wilmer Font, albeit on three days’ rest. Jason Vargas left with a calf cramp after pitching four innings Sunday, and Font followed with three innings of no-run, no-hit, one-walk work, throwing 55 pitches. The 29-year-old righty made three starts after the Mets acquired him from the Rays on May 6, none more than four innings. Since then, he has a 0.90 ERA in six relief outings (10 innings).
Syndergaard is 5-4 with a 4.55 ERA in 15 starts. Six of his last nine were quality starts, and he pitched well Saturday before the injury.
“It’s going to take whatever time it’s going to take,” Callaway said. “But it is a little bit easier on a pitcher than on a position player who has to run sprints and stuff like that.”