Syndergaard takes strong step toward return

September 25th, 2021

MILWAUKEE -- could be back in a Mets uniform before the regular season wraps up next weekend.

The right-hander, who's yet to throw a pitch this season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in March 2020, allowed one hit and struck out a pair of batters during a scoreless inning of work for Triple-A Syracuse on Saturday.

"He pitched well and threw strikes," Mets manager Luis Rojas said before Saturday's game against the Brewers at American Family Field. "His pitch count was very low and he had a good outing. Very encouraging to hear, but nothing more than that."

The Mets have a need for pitching help this week with Tuesday's scheduled doubleheader against the Marlins. Rojas wasn't ready to say whether Syndergaard will be back for that series. Instead, Rojas will have a discussion with the team's medical and coaching staffs, as well as Syndergaard, to determine the best course of action over the last week of the regular season.

"We haven't talked about what the next step is," Rojas said. "It's about what's the best for him."

Syndergaard hasn't appeared in a big league game since Sept. 29, 2019, when he took a no-decision after allowing three runs while striking out nine over seven innings in a 7-6 victory over the Braves at Citi Field. Syndergaard began experiencing discomfort in his shoulder the following spring and underwent an MRI that revealed a torn ulnar collateral ligament after COVID-19 shut down Spring Training.

Syndergaard's return was delayed twice this season. First, by more elbow issues that led to him being shut down in Spring Training, then last month, when he tested positive for COVID-19.

The 29-year-old is set to become a free agent at the end of the season.