Noah Syndergaard is expected to begin a rehab assignment this week, according to Tim Healey of Newsday Sports. As was previously reported, the Mets are planning on having the hulking righty return as a member of their bullpen, since there’s not enough time remaining in the season for him to be stretched out as a starter. This would be his second rehab assignment of the year, as he attempts to work his way back from undergoing Tommy John surgery in March of 2020. He had previously had a rehab stint in May, before being shut down due to elbow inflammation. It’s now been almost two years since his last big-league appearance, which was September 29th of 2019. The final few weeks of the season will be tremendously important for both Syndergaard and the Mets. The team needs all the help they can get to pull themselves out of their current nosedive. Despite having the division lead in the NL East as recently as August 5th, they are now in third place and seven games behind the Braves. As for Thor, he is a few weeks away from entering free agency for the first time and could help his own case by showing some health and effectiveness before the season ends.
More from around the NL…
- The Dodgers are planning on reinstating Mookie Betts from the injured list on Thursday, per Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times. The outfielder has been dealing with hip pain all year and is currently in the midst of his second IL placement this season because of it. Despite the nagging hip situation, Betts has still been tremendously valuable when on the field. In 87 games this year, he’s hitting .277/.378/.521, for a wRC+ of 143. Getting him healthy will be a huge boost to the Dodgers as they attempt to chase down the Giants and make up the 2 1/2 games that separate them in the race for the NL West crown.
- The Dodgers could also welcome Joe Kelly back into the fold this week, per Castillo. Kelly was placed on the IL without explanation on August 10th, but a source of Castillo’s confirmed that it was because of a positive COVID test. The righty has seemingly recovered, given that he started a rehab assignment on Friday. He’s done some quality work this year, throwing 29 2/3 innings of 3.34 ERA ball. The bullpen could use his fresh arm, since it’s recently put Garrett Cleavinger and Evan Phillips on the 10-day IL, as well as Jimmy Nelson going under the knife for season-ending Tommy John surgery earlier this month.
- Nico Hoerner left the first game of his rehab assignment today because of tension in his oblique, per Bruce Levine of 670thescore.com. Hoerner and the Cubs can afford to play things cautiously, as they are well out of the playoff picture at this point. But the infielder has only been able to play in 39 games this season due to various injuries and would surely like to get some more reps before the winter. The club would also surely love to get more looks at him in action, given that they are going into an offseason with so many potential variables after parting ways with so much of their previous core. When on the field, he has had been effective at the plate this year, slashing .313/.388/.388, producing a wRC+ of 113. He’s also played second base, third base, shortstop, left field and center field, meaning that he could fit into the club’s future plans in a variety of ways.
- Freddy Peralta played catch today, per Adam McCalvy of MLB.com. Peralta went on the IL on Thursday with shoulder inflammation and will be eligible to return this coming weekend. The righty is in the midst of an exceptional breakout season, as he’s thrown 121 1/3 innings with a 2.45 ERA and superb strikeout rate of 34%. Among all pitchers with at least 120 innings this season, that’s the fourth-best ERA and fourth-best K%. The Brewers don’t need to rush him back, as they are 7 1/2 games ahead of the Reds in the NL Central. But assuming he can keep his shoulder in good shape, he’ll form one third of a potentially deadly playoff rotation, alongside Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes.