The New York Mets are hoping to get some of their injured players back very soon so they can make another run at the playoffs this season. At 25-32, that may sound like a bit of a long shot, but the way the National League is shaping up, it may not be. If they can get to .500 by the All-Star break, they might be able to make a run similar to the one they made last season.
OF Yoenis Cepedes is working his way back from a bad hamstring strain that has shelved him since April 28. He could be back as early as next week. Starting pitchers Steven Matz and Seth Lugo, both felled by elbow issues this spring, are scheduled to start this weekend.
The Mets are hoping to get another player on the DL, ace starter Noah Syndergaard, back for second half of the season, but at the moment, Thor is not anywhere near ready to pitch. Syndergaard tore a lat muscle on his right side in his April 30 start in Washington and has been on the DL ever since.
On Thursday, Syndergaard called into the Boomer and Carton Show on WFAN to update them on his progress, which unfortunately for Met fans, was not exactly comforting.
“I’m doing great,” he said via phone. “I’m looking forward getting back with all of those guys. I’m missing a lot. Rehab’s going great, the arm’s starting to feel better than it had been previously, but as far as timetable is…it’s tough to say. Lats are tricky because it’s very specific. In a rehab program that if you come back too soon, you just really put yourself in a better situation to injure yourself again.”
Thor was clearly the hammer of the Mets’ rotation and a steady arm that set up the rest of the Mets’ starters. He started four games before exiting early in his fifth start with the injury. In his first four starts, Syndergaard went six, seven, six and seven innings with a 1.73 ERA and had struck out 30 batters without walking a single one.
The Mets have missed him dearly. There starters have struggled to put in quality performances leading to the bullpen to get overworked and overwhelmed. Matz and Lugo will help for sure, but the Mets need Syndergaard if they want to seriously compete. When they’ll see him again is still uncertain.
“I probably won’t be able to pick up a ball for quite some time,” he said. “I mean, I have no pain right now, but I want to make sure my lat is nice and stretched out and ready to go.”
Syndergaard may have prevented the lat injury from festering had he agreed to an MRI before that last start as he was feeling some discomfort, but then declined as he was able to go through his routine without incident. Looking back, he said he wouldn’t have done it even knowing what he knows now.
“No regret for me really. There was nothing structurally wrong. I was able to play catch and throw all those bullpens. I felt great out there. I felt ready to go that Sunday. Something happened.”
Many have blamed Syndergaard’s offseason workout program which includes a regimen of weightlifting, long frowned upon by baseball purists. He packed on 20 pounds of muscle over the winter and many have pointed to the program as the culprit behind the injury. Again, Thor has no regrets.
“No, not really,” Syndergaard said when asked by Esiason if he planned on changing that program this offseason. “I take a lot of pride in the way I train and I like to think that I train in a smart way. I try to be as strong as possible, try to be as much like Nolan Ryan. That guy was lifting and working hard and was able to pitch till he was 48 years old.”
The Mets are hoping Syndersaard can last half as long as Ryan did. Right now they just want him back healthy. When that will be is anyone’s guess.