Suddenly, the future of Noah Syndergaard in a New York Mets uniform is falling into serious uncertainty.
Manager Luis Rojas announced on Thursday that the 28-year-old right-hander is dealing with right-elbow inflammation with no structural damage to his UCL and will not throw for six weeks.
Syndergaard had been working his way back from Tommy John surgery he underwent early last season, but was pulled from his minor-league rehab assignment on Tuesday after just one inning after dealing with elbow soreness.
Heading into this week, the original expectation was that Syndergaard would be able to return to the Mets by mid-June — a rare bit of good injury news for a team that has been decimated by it all season.
“It’s big. We were just counting on him being back probably a month or less than a month from now and this happening is tough,” Rojas said. “It’s good to hear that there’s no structural damage in the UCL.”
This newest layoff, however, means that Syndergaard won’t start throwing until at least July. The subsequent ramp-up to getting back to a major-league workload could take a few more weeks, meaning the Mets might not get Syndergaard back until late August or September — if he makes it back at all.
“Let’s see this work with the six weeks without throwing and we pray that he can pitch for us this year,” Rojas said. “I think this is the right approach, just being preventative from anything major… We’re going to let the performance and medical staff work with him, get that inflammation down, get some strength back in there, and get him throwing again.”
Syndergaard is in the final year of his deal with the Mets, meaning free agency is right around the corner for a player who could potentially miss each of the previous two seasons. That doesn’t help Syndergaard’s value and creates obvious questions of what the Mets will do in terms of pursuing a new deal with the fireballer.
“I haven’t gone that far,” Rojas said. “I’m aware that he could be a free agent after this but I haven’t really thought about it.”