Arm issue sends top prospect Syndergaard to DL
NEW YORK -- Injury has struck another of the Mets' top young pitchers.
The organization's Triple-A Las Vegas affiliate placed right-hander Noah Syndergaard on the disabled list Monday, retroactive to May 22, with a flexor-pronator strain in his right arm. Syndergaard planned to fly from Vegas to New York, where Mets doctors will examine him this week.
"At this point, we don't have a high level of concern," general manager Sandy Alderson said. "But anytime the forearm is involved, we like to have it looked at. So we're flying him back, he'll be seen [Tuesday], and we'll have further information at that time."
The organization's top-ranked player in MLB.com's 2014 Prospect Watch, Syndergaard was 5-2 with a 4.02 ERA in 10 starts at Vegas. Over his last five starts, he has been even sharper, going 2-0 with a 3.14 ERA, 36 strikeouts and nine walks in 28 2/3 innings.
Though the Mets classified Syndergaard's injury as "mild," they are taking every precaution by flying him to New York City for an examination. The term "flexor-pronator" refers to a group of forearm muscles that assists with elbow functioning. Flexor-pronator strains have preceded elbow ligament tears for big league pitchers such as Stephen Strasburg and Josh Johnson. In many other cases, they have not.
"We're very concerned about it," manager Terry Collins said. "I know a lot of guys that go to the doctor and it's nothing. But I know some that go to the doctor and it's an issue. So anytime you're going in and the word "elbow" shows up and you throw as hard as he does, it's a concern."
The Mets, whose organizational strength has centered around pitching for years, have endured a rash of arm injuries over the past nine months. Right-handers Matt Harvey, Jeremy Hefner and Bobby Parnell are all currently rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, Dillon Gee is on the disabled list with a strained right lat muscle and left-hander Jon Niese began this season on the DL with a shoulder strain.
In that way, the Mets have been a microcosm of the game. Prominent pitchers such as Miami's Jose Fernandez, Tampa Bay's Matt Moore and Arizona's Patrick Corbin have all undergone Tommy John surgery this year, among many others.
"Strength is in numbers," general manager Sandy Alderson recently said of his team's starting pitching depth, referring specifically to trade prospects. "Because of the injury risk, the value of a pitcher might be discounted. On the one hand, you want to have as many as you can. On the other hand, people are starting to realize what risk is associated with these pitchers."