On his first day back at Citi Field as a visiting player, Noah Syndergaard revealed another reason he left the Mets last offseason: the New York energy, apparently.
“Part of the reason why I still made the move to the Angels, to the West Coast, is just because that energy that can make New York so great and positive can also bite you in the butt a little bit,” he said. “Especially with what I’m going through right now, a little dip in velocity, I’m still trying to rely on location and mixing things up. I feel like if I was doing that playing here, everything would be highlighted. That was a big fear of mine.”
Syndergaard, arms crossed as he leaned against the railing of the visitors’ dugout, spoke Friday afternoon before the Mets hosted his new team, the Phillies, who acquired him from the Angels last week before the trade deadline. He isn’t scheduled to pitch in this series but is lined up to face the Mets next weekend in Philadelphia.
The Mets played a brief tribute video before first pitch. Syndergaard, waving and tipping his cap from the dugout, received a mix of boos and cheers.
In his first full season back from 2020 Tommy John surgery, his fastball has averaged 94 mph — down significantly from his upper-90s peak with the Mets. He has performed to middling results, including a 3.96 ERA and 1.28 WHIP, but has managed to stay healthy and pitch regularly for the first time since 2019.
Syndergaard described himself as “living the good life in Newport Beach” before getting traded from California to Pennsylvania. He is due to be a free agent again after this season.
“You walk into the Angels’ clubhouse and there’s only, like, three reporters there. And most of them are Japanese, so they don’t really speak a lot of English,” Syndergaard said.
“Everything is just heightened. It’s pretty cutthroat playing in New York. I feel like I did a pretty good job over the last six years — even though I was hurt for the last two — of managing that and embracing it. But it was just a lot when you’re trying to get back from an injury.”
Syndergaard did make time for hugs and hellos with old Mets friends before the game.
“There’s not a whole lot of guys still left over there from when I was around,” he said, listing Jacob deGrom, Carlos Carrasco and Tomas Nido among those who remain. “I was really close to guys on the medical and performance staff, so I was able to see them.”
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