MANALAPAN, N.J. — The Mets’ play made it easy for Noah Syndergaard to switch away from Sunday night’s blowout loss to the Dodgers to watch for his cameo appearance in HBO’s “Game of Thrones.”
The injured ace even hit Twitter with a couple of posts during the 8-0 defeat to communicate with fans about it. He is working on something all Mets fans will want to see: a September return.
The Mets have faded from contention in the months since their ace left the April 30 game in Washington with a torn lat muscle, but it hasn’t changed his goal of getting back this season. He told youngsters at the Noah Syndergaard Baseball ProCamp on Monday that the injury “felt like somebody stabbed me in the armpit,” but he described his current condition as “my body has never felt better . . . My arm is feeling really good.”
The righthander began a throwing program two weeks ago at the team complex in Port St. Lucie and is building arm strength with long toss at 120 to 150 feet. He hasn’t had a bullpen session yet and said he doesn’t know the team’s timetable for a return, but “I am just itching to get back out there,” he said.
“Whether it’s September and we’re in it or not, I just want to go out there and compete because I am just getting bored,” Syndergaard said. “I want to go out there and pitch. If I weren’t to pitch this year, I’d probably go nine or 10 months without competing in a meaningful game. So I don’t want to let that time go by.”
He is rehabbing with the team during this homestand but will return to Florida when the Mets leave town after Wednesday’s game against the Rangers at Citi Field.
Of watching the Mets falter after a spate of injuries, Syndergaard said, “Definitely something we weren’t expecting, but we’re trying our best to stay positive and go out there and play meaningful ballgames.”
While Syndergaard was not allowed to throw a baseball, he worked with trainers Eric Cressey and Shane Ray — who have worked with other big-league pitchers — on improving his flexibility. Allowing that his rigorous offseason training regimen might have set the table for the injury — he said he became “way too tight and bulky” — he plans to “continue to get after it in the weight room, but in a smarter fashion.”
“I’m doing a lot more mobility stuff,” Syndergaard added. “Right now my hips aren’t the loosest, so that’s something I’m working on right now.”
Syndergaard is a longtime fan of “Game of Thrones,” the award-winning medieval drama. He warms up on the Citi Field mound to the show’s theme song and has nicknamed his gloves after characters on the show. He said his representatives at Creative Artists Agency have counterparts in the agency who work with people from “Game of Thrones’’ and that they were thrilled to hear about his devotion to the show.
“They thought that was awesome and they gave me that opportunity. I couldn’t pass it up,” he said.
Syndergaard is on camera only long enough to throw a spear and die in a dragon attack.
He had speculated about what army he might be cast in. “I thought at one point I was going to be a Knight of the Night’s Watch,” he said, “but I’ll be a Lannister and I’ll get killed by a dragon.”