TORONTO — Noah Syndergaard’s return to a New York City mound is imminent, but it won’t be Citi Field yet.
The righthander, out since May 25 with a right index finger strain, is scheduled to make a minor-league rehabilitation start Sunday with the short-season Class A Brooklyn Cyclones at MCU Park against the Staten Island Yankees. Mets manager Mickey Callaway said the hope is for Syndergaard to stretch out to about 60 pitches.
That would line him up for a potential return before the All-Star break — sometime during the July 13-15 series against the Nationals — though that will happen only if the Mets and Syndergaard believe he is ready.
“Obviously, we’ll see what he looks like in that outing, how he bounced back, how many pitches did he actually get in? We’ll lean on him for some of that information,” Callaway said. “Does he feel like he’s ready to come up and throw four, five innings in a major-league game? There’s a lot of things to consider, and we’ll try to consider all of those things.”
Lefthander Jason Vargas (strained right calf) isn’t as close to a return. He’ll throw another simulated game Sunday to build and maintain arm strength, but he can’t return until his leg allows him to field his position.
Ces takes another step
More good news on Yoenis Cespedes: He’ll begin baseball activities — hitting on the field, taking fly balls and ground balls in left — Thursday in Port St. Lucie, Florida. That will be his first on-field activity since shutting down his rehab almost a month ago. He’s been out since mid-May with a strained hip flexor.
Devin Mesoraco said he felt fine Wednesday after leaving Tuesday’s game following two blows to the head while behind the plate — one from a pitch, one from a backswing.
Mesoraco, who said he previously had two concussions, was confident he avoided one this time after repeated tests Tuesday night and Wednesday.
“Sometimes it’s hard to tell. You take a couple of hard hits and you’re shook up,” he said. “It’s kind of like, ‘I don’t feel quite right.’ After I got out and got settled down from the game, I felt fine. I did the testing and everything was no issues. Woke up fine today.”
The Mets are moving Zack Wheeler from his scheduled start Sunday to Monday in an effort to avoid straining the bullpen during a doubleheader against the Phillies. They’ll call up a minor-leaguer — the most likely options appear to be P.J. Conlon or Chris Flexen — to start Sunday . . . Wednesday’s game was the Mets’ last one outside New York City until July 26.