Noah Syndergaard has been instructed not to throw a baseball for six weeks as he heals from the partially torn right lat muscle that forced him from last Sunday’s game in Washington, the Mets ace said Saturday. That prescription suggests he will not be able to return to a big-league mound until after the All-Star Game break.
General manager Sandy Alderson said he wants to get away from setting timetables for injured players to return and added “if he’s not going to throw for six weeks, there’s going to be a period of time after that to ramp him back up and so . . . it’s going to take a while. We don’t know when he is going to be back.”
Rafael Montero took Syndergaard’s spot in the rotation and pitched poorly Friday. Alderson said he looking at options inside and outside the organization before Montero’s next scheduled start on Wednesday.
Syndergaard said the course for his rehab will be determined by how he responds and he will be “taking it day-by-day, really slow” because “I don’t want to rush it back or just have a little hiccup” in the recovery.
Syndergaard had stiffness and discomfort in his right biceps in the days following his April 20 start and, as a result was scratched from his next scheduled appearance. He refused the club’s request to go for an MRI, pitched a bullpen session, and told the club he was fit to pitch last Sunday’s game. He gave up five runs in the first inning and had to leave be relieved in the second because of the injury. The club diagnosed the lat tear and he went to Los Angeles for a second opinion before rejoining the team Saturday.
Asked if he regretting pitching last Sunday, Syndergaard replied “I don’t regret it at all.”
“I threw a bullpen two days prior and I felt great and ready to go. It’s just something weird happened,” he added. “I can definitely learn from this because it’s a steppingstone in my life. I just have to continue to stay positive.”
Alderson took responsibility for letting Syndergaard pitch in Washington and sounded like he, too, had learned something. He said any good decision-making process requires “gathering information” and “you have to interpret” it. In evaluating the situation “going sideways,” he sounded like he wished he’d had the information from the MRI.
“But that doesn’t mean it would have been dispositive,” Alderson said. “The situation was such that, to me, the MRI was not a critical element to the decision-making.”
Asked how he’d react to the next player that refuses an MRI, he replied, “in the face of what transpired this time, I would have to consider very seriously before saying, ‘No.’ ”
Syndergaard initially will stay with team as he recovers and rehabs and will be able to keep his lower body conditioned. But he has realized that his first stint on the disabled list won’t be easy.
“It’s different being away — just those four days I was away from the team when they were in Atlanta — and it hurt inside,” he said. “There’s nothing I want more than going out and supporting the team, whether I am in the dugout or on the field. It’s all about staying positive.
“It’s a new experience for me. I’ve never been on the DL before.”