Noah Syndergaard won’t be throwing a baseball for six weeks due to his partially torn lat muscle.
As for when he will return to the mound? That remains to be seen.
Mets GM Sandy Alderson said Saturday he wants to get out of the business of projecting returns from injuries, but conceded, “Obviously, if he’s not going to throw for six weeks, there’s going to be a period of time after that to ramp him back up. So we can all speculate about how long that will take, but I think realistically it’s going to take awhile.”
Syndergaard said his understanding was that he would need something like a full spring training-type period to work his way back once he can begin throwing again. Earlier in the week, multiple orthopedists told the Daily News that a typical recovery time for a torn lat muscle is three to six months.
Alderson said placing Syndergaard on the 60-day disabled list is certainly a possibility.
The star Mets pitcher suffered the injury last Sunday against the Nationals. He had been scratched from his previous start with bicep soreness and then refused an MRI. Syndergaard said Saturday he didn’t think the two injuries were related and didn’t, but Alderson basically admitted that not pressing the issue with the MRI was a mistake, without explicitly saying that.
When asked what he would do next time a player refused an MRI, the GM said, “In the face of what transpired this time, I would have to consider that very seriously before saying no. On the other hand, one thing I want to emphasize is we (make) these decisions every day. And one of them certainly went sideways.”
Alderson admitted that the lack of an MRI eliminated “information that probably would have been useful.” However, the GM also added, “But the situation was such that, to me, the MRI was not a critical element to the decision making. That’s as direct as I can be.”
Syndergaard also said he didn’t think bulking up — in hopes of throwing even harder — in the offseason contributed to this injury. Alderson said it is a misconception that Syndergaard added 17 pounds to his 6-6 frame — the GM says it was three — but didn’t deny that maybe the pitcher was pushing it when trying to bulk up. However, he simultaneously complimented Syndergaard’s willingness to work so hard on training.
“I mean one of the reason he is as good as he has been is because of the motivation he exhibits in a variety of different areas. And, while it might be easy pick off one thing that was excessive — that may have been excessive — who knows whether, given that sort of mentality, (if) he would be where he is if he didn’t have it,” Alderson said.
One pitch before the one in which he hurt himself, Syndergaard said he did feel a small amount of pain but didn’t think much of it at the time and didn’t ponder stopping.
“I thought I felt a little something the pitch before, but I mean, (nothing) I hadn’t really felt before, just felt like a little ache in my arm,” Syndergaard said. “And then I threw another pitch and that’s when I felt it.”
“It wasn’t too alarming to me,” he said of the first pitch.
Syndergaard said facing his extended absence “stings.”
“It’s different being away for those four days, I was just away from the team when they were in Atlanta,” the pitcher said. “It hurt inside, ‘cause there’s nothing I want to be more than be out there supporting the team, whether I’m in the dugout or on the field.”
The Mets star pitcher also apologized for his public spat with Mets PR man Jay Horwitz that occurred when Syndergaard was annoyed that reporters approached him a few days before his injury.
“Just a little bit of miscommunication, (I was) just kind of a little confused as to why the media was approaching me after the game when I didn’t think anything had changed,” Syndergaard said. “I didn’t mean anything disrespectful toward Jay Horwitz or anybody in general.”
YO SO CLOSE
As Yoenis Cespedes gets closer to a return a return from his latest hamstring injury, the Mets are hoping to find out why the muscle has been such a problem for him in the first place.
“Yoenis is making good progress with his hamstring. However, we’re bringing him up here, he’ll be up here Monday, and undergo an evaluation that’s a little broader than just the hamstring to try and get to the question of why he may have recurring hamstring injuries,” Alderson said. “So he’s progressing very well with his hamstring, but we want to take a slightly fuller look at physically, if there’s something we can do, in the way of something preventative that we can do to address…these injuries.”
After Rafael Montero struggled in his start Friday, Alderson said the team will consider options — both in and out of the organization — for that rotation spot, though he did not explicitly rule out keeping Montero in it, either.
“We’re looking at that now. Reviewing our options. Obviously we were disappointed with last night. We were happy, fortunate to win the game,” Alderson said. “But we’re going to have to take a hard look at that spot and make a decision over the next four or five days at the very latest. But we’re certainly taking a look at our options.”