ATLANTA — Mets ace Noah Syndergaard is headed to Los Angeles this week to seek a second opinion on his torn lat muscle from Dr. Neal ElAttrache, a source confirmed Wednesday.
The planned visit was first reported by the New York Post, which also pegged initial conservative estimates of Syndergaard’s absence to be about three months.
General manager Sandy Alderson said on Monday that Syndergaard’s stint on the disabled list likely would be measured in weeks rather than days, though he avoided divulging a specific timeline.
Still, a three-month absence appears to be in line with what team officials had been bracing for since Sunday, when Syndergaard grabbed at his side and walked off the field during his start in Washington. He took the mound after declining an MRI exam for biceps soreness, a decision that has triggered a wave of scrutiny of the Mets’ management of injuries.
Steven Matz suffered the same injury in 2015, which sidelined him for two months, and a source this week said the Mets expected Syndergaard’s injury likely would require a longer recovery time.
Now, the Mets face the challenge of turning their season around without the 24-year-old, who is 1-2 with a 3.29 ERA in five starts.
The Mets’ rotation had been expected to be a strength. But the group has stumbled out of the gates. Aside from Wednesday’s starter Jacob deGrom (2.84 ERA), the rest of the rotation has struggled badly.
Matt Harvey has a 5.14 ERA in his first season back from thoracic outlet syndrome surgery. Robert Gsellman has a 6.75 ERA as he navigates what appears to be the beginning of a sophomore slump. And Zack Wheeler’s spring surprise has yet to translate to success in the regular season. The righty has a 4.78 ERA after missing the last two seasons following Tommy John surgery.
Rafael Montero is expected to be summoned from Triple-A Las Vegas to take Syndergaard’s spot in the rotation beginning on Friday against the Marlins. The righty has allowed seven earned runs in six mjaor-league relief appearances this season.
The Mets hope to have more options eventually, with Matz and Seth Lugo in the early stages of working their way back from elbow injuries.
In addition, the Mets have checked in with virtually every veteran starting pitcher on the free-agent market, a group that includes Doug Fister, Tim Lincecum and Jake Peavy.
A source said that no deals are imminent, though the Mets are expected to attend a throwing session this week for at least one veteran arm.