All of his proverbial hurdles cleared, Noah Syndergaard will make his first start in seven weeks Friday against the Nationals at Citi Field.
That should mark the end of the prolonged saga of the strained ligament in Syndergaard’s right index finger. The Mets initially hoped it would cause him to miss only one start, but when the soreness lingered, the team and the righthander decided to play it conservatively.
Syndergaard threw a bullpen session Wednesday and had no issues.
“He feels great,” manager Mickey Callaway said.
Jason Vargas’ progress isn’t as positive. He is slated for another rehab start Saturday, again with short-season A Brooklyn, as he continues to stretch out following the strained right calf that has sidelined him since June 20.
Vargas pitched for Brooklyn Monday but threw only 64 pitches in six innings. The Mets want to avoid the problems they had when Vargas came back from the DL in April, when he threw 66 pitches in one rehab start (for Triple-A Las Vegas) and pitched poorly upon returning.
“You throw 60 pitches in an A ball game, that’s like throwing 40 pitches here and we don’t want him tiring out too early,” Callaway said. “We feel we need to get him out to 90 pitches before he comes and makes a start for us here.”
The upside of Vargas’ continued rehab is rookie righthander Corey Oswalt being rewarded with another start. He’ll pitch Sunday against the Nationals, the Mets’ first-half finale, after tossing a quality start Monday against the Phillies.