Mets right-hander Noah Syndergaard will be shut down from throwing for the next six weeks due to inflammation in his right elbow, manager Luis Rojas announced to reporters Thursday (Twitter link via Anthony DiComo of MLB.com).
Syndergaard, who is working his way back from 2020 Tommy John surgery, exited his most recent minor league rehab start due to elbow discomfort. Tests did not reveal any damage to Syndergaard’s ulnar collateral ligament, but today’s announcement still marks a substantial setback. He’ll need to build back up once he resumes throwing in mid-July, meaning the earliest he’d be able to return to the big league rotation is likely some point in August.
The Syndergaard setback is the latest in a rather remarkable deluge of injuries the organization is attempting to weather. While the pitching staff hasn’t been hit as hard as the lineup, the looming promise of a Syndergaard return nevertheless stood as a potential boon for the club as it tries to patch the roster together while a whopping 17 players are on the injured list.
The Mets’ rotation has been excellent, anchored by yet another dominant performance from two-time Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom. Mets starters have pitched to a collective 2.94 ERA on the season, ranking fifth in baseball. They also have the game’s fifth-best strikeout percentage (28.1 percent) and the seventh-lowest walk percentage (7.1 percent).
That said, it’s been a top-heavy group. Each of deGrom, Taijuan Walker and Marcus Stroman has turned in a sub-3.00 ERA (sub-1.00, in deGrom’s case), but young David Peterson has worked to a 4.91 mark in 44 innings while the fifth spot has been a revolving door. Carlos Carrasco, like Syndergaard, has yet to pitch this season and is said to still be “weeks” away from his potential Mets debut, and another rotation option, Jordan Yamamoto, was placed on the 60-day injured list yesterday.
The setback, of course, is worrisome for Syndergaard on a personal level as well. He’s in his final season of club control and was already facing a best-case scenario of just under four months to showcase his health in advance of free agency. He could now be looking at closer to a six-week audition window — perhaps longer if the Mets reach the postseason.