SAN DIEGO -- The idea hatched from Bartolo Colon, by way of bullpen coach Ricky Bones. Noah Syndergaard has been dealing with arm fatigue, which the 43-year-old Colon has made a career out of avoiding. So Bones suggested Syndergaard try what his All-Star teammate estimates he has done for "10
SAN DIEGO -- The idea hatched from Bartolo Colon, by way of bullpen coach Ricky Bones. Noah Syndergaard has been dealing with arm fatigue, which the 43-year-old Colon has made a career out of avoiding. So Bones suggested Syndergaard try what his All-Star teammate estimates he has done for "10 or 15 years" -- avoid throwing full bullpen sessions in between starts.
Speaking on the eve of an All-Star Game to which he was elected but one he cannot participate, Syndergaard said he plans to scale back his side sessions to a significant extent for the rest of this season -- perhaps even for the rest of his career. In that way, Syndergaard hopes to return to the Mets' rotation July 19 against the Cubs in Chicago, with plans to remain there for good.
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"It is kind of frustrating, because I think I do a really good job of taking care of my body and making sure I'm able to compete and go about my routine every day," said Syndergaard, one of three Mets All-Stars appearing at All-Star Media Day on Monday. "I've just got to take a step back and really evaluate what my routine has been. Just throwing way too much between starts is really the only thing I'm going to taper back, and see how that goes."
Throughout his young professional career, Syndergaard has taken more precautions than most to protect his arm. He is militant about the types of things he eats and drinks, swearing by particular by a daily drinking regimen. His ethic in the weight room is second to none. His 6-foot-6, 240-pound physique is the envy of baseball. Comparisons to a Norse god does not happen by accident.
So Syndergaard was frustrated, perhaps even a bit angry, when his arm was fatigued in the fifth inning of his last start against the Nationals.
"It didn't really scare me at all," said Syndergaard, who typically throws one 35-pitch bullpen sessions in between starts. "I knew that there was no pain, so there wasn't really a whole lot of fear of what it could be. I was just looking at the radar gun, and it didn't make much sense how I saw 93, 94 [mph] and I was really trying to air it out. I was just a little confused and frustrated."
That episode did more than simply knock Syndergaard out of an All-Star Game that, as recently as last week, he was among the favorites to start. It also caused him to reevaluate every aspect of his routine.
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Syndergaard will put his new-and-improved routine into practice when the Mets travel to Philadelphia this weekend for the start of their season's second half. In San Diego, he will do little more than play catch, as National League manager Terry Collins and the Mets' coaching staff keeps a watchful eye on him in and around Petco Park.
Aside from that, Syndergaard will simply try to enjoy his first career All-Star experience, with an eye toward participating in many more to come.
"I was really disappointed for him," Collins said. "Not just for me and for our fan base, but for him. This kid's legit."
On Tuesday, watch the 2016 All-Star Game presented by MasterCard live on FOX, and during the game visit MLB.com to submit your choice for the Ted Williams Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet via the 2016 MLB All-Star Game MVP Vote. The 87th All-Star Game, in San Diego, will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 160 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB.com, MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.