Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard delivers a pitch against the Astros during...

Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard delivers a pitch against the Astros during the first inning of a spring training game at Clover Park on March 8, 2020, in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Credit: Getty Images/Rich Schultz

The possibility that Noah Syndergaard returns as a reliever is looking more like a probability.

The Mets still plan for him to come back from Tommy John surgery in September, which will be nearly two years since his most recent major-league game. And because of how long it takes for a starting pitcher to build up his pitch/inning tolerance, acting general manager Zack Scott indicated that the Mets are strongly considering not doing that.

"Getting him to help the big-league club is the priority when you get down to these last couple months of the season," Scott said Tuesday. "If we can get him to come back in a relief role faster, which is typically the case — typically if you want to stretch a guy out to be a starter, it's going to take a longer rehab. So getting him back in September in a role where he can help the club in relief would be a good thing for us to do."

Syndergaard, who had surgery in March 2020, has been limited to bullpen sessions every couple of days recently. He has not faced hitters yet.

"He's someone that obviously has a lot of talent," Scott said, "and has the potential to impact the game."

Syndergaard, who turns 29 this month, has a career 3.31 ERA in five seasons. That includes a career-worst 4.28 mark in 2019, when he most recently pitched. He is scheduled to be a free agent after this season.

Daily deGrom

Jacob deGrom, still away from the team while tending to a personal issue, is scheduled for a follow-up MRI late this week as he reaches the two-week point of his two-week shutdown.


The Mets hope the imaging shows reduced or no inflammation in his right elbow. But Scott said they still aren’t sure what is causing the discomfort.

"Any time you get shut down, it's always more significant," he said. "When you're talking about a pitcher's arm or elbow or his arm from pitching, then you need to make sure you handle that appropriately, especially someone as important as Jake."

Baez’s back

Javier Baez’s left hip soreness has become lower back soreness, manager Luis Rojas said.

He was out of the lineup against the Nationals on Tuesday — two days after the hip issue rendered him unable to leave the batter’s box on a groundout — but the Mets still consider him day-to-day.

Extra bases

Francisco Lindor (strained right oblique) is "still week-to-week," Scott said. Lindor did some baserunning Tuesday . . . The Mets are going to start Marcus Stroman in the regularly scheduled second game of Wednesday's doubleheader because they want to keep him on a regular five-day schedule, Rojas said. That means Rich Hill gets pushed back to Thursday, a week after his most recent start.


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