Noah Syndergaard was scratched from his scheduled start on Thursday against the Braves because of what manager Terry Collins described as tendinitis in his right biceps, another medical setback for a club that’s had more than its share. Collins framed the move as precautionary when he announced in the morning that Matt Harvey would start the series finale, what ended up a 7-5 loss to the Braves.
Syndergaard said that he felt the discomfort following his between-starts bullpen session and again after playing catch on Wednesday. The righthander said he “felt great” playing catch, but then “it just kind of stiffens up once it gets cold.”
“I couldn’t really lift my arm above my shoulder at that point,” he explained.
Both times, Syndergaard responded well to anti-inflammatory medication and he arrived at the park Thursday intending to pitch, but Collins pulled the plug.
Syndergaard described the discomfort in his biceps as occurring where it enters the shoulder and Collins said caution is essential “when you are talking about anything that runs into the shoulder to where he changes his delivery and other things happen.”
Collins said he was “sure” that Syndergaard saw a doctor at the ballpark, but the pitcher said he did not.
“I felt like I could go out there and compete, but right now it’s just a precautionary thing we’re dealing with,” said Syndergaard, who is 1-1 with a 1.73 ERA and 30 strikeouts and zero walks in 26 innings in four starts. “It’s a little thing right now, but we definitely don’t want it to turn into a big thing.”
“It’s not worth taking the chance, certainly with this young man the way he is throwing the baseball,” Collins explained. “I told him ‘I’m glad you’re feeling better, but what’s going to happen if you come in on the bench and we have, for some reason, a 20-minute inning and you cool down?’ Now all of a sudden that discomfort and now I have to take you out.
“Let’s just have everybody look at it [and] deal with it the proper way. It’s one game.”
And that is exactly how the situation is being treated as of now.
The Mets are not putting Syndergaard on the 10-day disabled list to join starters Steven Matz and Seth Lugo — both out with elbow inflammation — along with first baseman Lucas Duda (hyperextended elbow) and infielder Wilmer Flores (knee infection) and now likely Yoenis Cespedes (strained left hamstring).
Syndergaard, in fact, is planning to pitch in the critical series against the first-place Nationals in Washington. Collins already has said Jacob deGrom and Zack Wheeler will start the first two games.
“In my opinion I think it’s very minor,” Syndergaard said, “and I’ll be back on the field Sunday.”