NEW YORK -- Two starts removed from missing nearly two months due to injury, Noah Syndergaard is headed back to the disabled list. But the reason has nothing to do with his arm.
Mets assistant general manager John Ricco revealed Sunday that Syndergaard has been diagnosed with hand, foot and mouth disease, a viral infection common in children. The Mets believe Syndergaard may have contracted the illness while working at a youth camp over the All-Star break.
Ricco said there is a possibility Syndergaard misses just one start, as the Mets expect him to be sidelined 7-10 days. Right-hander Corey Oswalt will be recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas to assume his rotation spot in the short term.
The Mets are prepping Oswalt to start Wednesday against the Padres, manager Mickey Callaway said.
Syndergaard, the owner of one of the Majors' hardest fastballs, caught the attention of the Mets training staff near the end of his start Friday at Yankee Stadium, when his velocity dipped into the low 90s. He was allowed to finish the fifth inning but was removed afterwards, his night capped at just 84 pitches. Syndergaard explained feeling "dead arm" in his postgame comments; he and the Mets both chalked the dip in velocity up to "fatigue."
Ricco and Callaway both cited the virus as a possible underlying cause.
"It took its toll the other night. He had trouble breathing, and that's why you saw his velo down," Callaway said. "During the game, we couldn't quite figure it out. But I put my hands on his legs to talk to him when he came out, and I felt his legs shaking. He was just weak and run-down."
It was then that Syndergaard noticed the most telling symptom of hand, foot and mouth disease, which is contagious: a blistery rash that spread on the inside of his hands. The illness also causes fever, sore throat, rash and lethargy.
Syndergaard will recover away from the team.
"We sent him home when we figured out what it was," Callaway said. "Nobody else has showed any symptoms yet. We're trying to make sure they're washing their hands and all that."
The diagnosis interrupts the right-hander's season for a second time, and it comes two starts after he missed seven weeks due to a strain in his right index finger. Syndergaard went 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA during that span, and he is 6-1 with a 2.89 ERA in 13 starts overall.