The Mets fell to 32-48 on Saturday and now own the National League’s worst record, but here’s a rare piece of good news for the woebegone club: Noah Syndergaard may be nearing a return. The team’s co-ace, who has been on the disabled list with a strained finger ligament since May 29, is scheduled to throw a simulated game in Port St. Lucie, Fla., during the upcoming week, per Anthony DiComo of MLB.com. Syndergaard will be opposed by fellow injured starter Jason Vargas, who went on the DL last weekend because of a strained calf. If the outing goes well for both pitchers, each would figure to make at least one rehab start before returning, DiComo adds. In Syndergaard’s case, he could be auditioning for other teams upon his comeback, as the Mets are willing to listen to any offers that may come in for the prized 25-year-old prior to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
Here’s more injury news from around the game:
- Like Syndergaard, Giants front-line starter Johnny Cueto is on the cusp of a long-awaited return. Cueto, who last took the mound April 28, made a successful Double-A rehab start Friday as he works back from a right elbow sprain. Cueto will throw a bullpen session Monday, and the Giants will then decide whether to activate the 32-year-old or have him make another rehab start, Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
- Cardinals shortstop Paul DeJong is on track to return to the team early in the upcoming week, Peter Baugh of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch relays. The power-hitting DeJong has been out since May 18 because of a fractured left hand, which has left shortstop to Greg Garcia and Yairo Munoz in St. Louis. Fortunately for the Cardinals, Garcia and Munoz have offered decent production in DeJong’s place. However, their output has fallen well short of the .260/.351/.473 line DeJong has posted in 171 plate appearances.
- The Rays placed right-hander Wilmer Font on the 10-day disabled list and recalled fellow righty Hunter Wood from Triple-A on Saturday, according to Bill Chastain of MLB.com. The right lat injury Font suffered Friday is likely to keep him out for around eight weeks, manager Kevin Cash revealed. Font, whom the Rays acquired from the Athletics in late May, looked to be emerging as a find for Tampa Bay prior to the injury. The 28-year-old has made nine appearances (five starts) since the trade and logged a 1.67 ERA over 27 innings, though he has only managed 20 strikeouts against 11 walks. Now that Font’s on the shelf, the bullpen-heavy Rays are down to just two traditional starters – Blake Snell and Nathan Eovaldi.
- Twins center fielder Byron Buxton has been out for a month because of a fractured left big toe, and there’s still no timetable for his return, Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com writes. While Buxton’s making progress in his recovery, it’s possible he’ll stay in the minors beyond July 8 (when his rehab assignment ends), Bollinger explains. Even if Buxton’s healthy, the Twins don’t want to recall him until they’re confident he’ll be able to help them at the plate. With a miserable .156/.183/.200 line in 94 PAs, the 24-year-old Buxton has been a drain on Minnesota’s offense this season.