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Syndergaard goes on DL with finger injury

Ace sidelined by strained ligament in right index finger; Lugo to return to rotation in Thor's absence
MLB.com

ATLANTA -- Mets ace starter Noah Syndergaard was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Tuesday, retroactive to Saturday, with a strained ligament in his right index finger. An MRI performed at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York on Tuesday revealed the ligament strain. A blood blister in the same finger surfaced during his start on Opening Day. 

Syndergaard, who was expected to start the Mets' series finale against the Braves at SunTrust Park on Wednesday, was experiencing soreness and bruising at the base of his right wrist as he went through his routine on Monday.

ATLANTA -- Mets ace starter Noah Syndergaard was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Tuesday, retroactive to Saturday, with a strained ligament in his right index finger. An MRI performed at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York on Tuesday revealed the ligament strain. A blood blister in the same finger surfaced during his start on Opening Day. 

Syndergaard, who was expected to start the Mets' series finale against the Braves at SunTrust Park on Wednesday, was experiencing soreness and bruising at the base of his right wrist as he went through his routine on Monday.

"It started popping up after his last start and he really noticed it on his bullpen day," Mets manager Mickey Callaway said. "This is really something that just popped up. He had no symptoms of this at all."

Morning Lineup Podcast: Syndergaard's injury

Syndergaard is now the Mets' 10th player to be placed on the DL. He joins other big names like Yoenis Cespedes and Todd Frazier who are just now moving into rehab, with Frazier rehabbing with Triple-A Las Vegas, and Cespedes now running amid his recovery from a strained right hip flexor.

The Mets hope it will be a quick turnaround for the ace, who has gone 4-1 with a 3.06 ERA and 76 strikeouts over 64 2/3 innings in 11 starts this season.

Video: Syndergaard placed on 10-day DL with finger injury

"You know he just pitched a few days ago, threw a side yesterday and that's when he really started noticing it," Callaway said. "It was a little sore and he had some bruising at the base of his wrist and then we were like, 'Hey, we need to get this checked out.'

"Right now the goal is to rest it a couple of days and give him a bullpen [session] this weekend, and after that he should be ready to go."

Callaway said Syndergaard will wear a splint on the finger to keep it immobilized. Right-hander Gerson Bautista will remain with the team after being called up from Triple-A to serve as the Mets' extra player during Monday's doubleheader.

Syndergaard, who missed nearly the entire 2017 season with a right lat injury, had remained consistent in a rotation that has largely struggled. Beyond Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom (4-0, 1.52 ERA), Steven Matz, Jason Vargas and Zack Wheeler have each had their struggles, and the club traded Matt Harvey, once the franchise star, to the Reds earlier this month after designating him for assignment. deGrom avoided a major injury scare when hyperextending his pitching elbow in a May 2 start against the Braves, which forced him to hit the disabled list for the first time since 2014.

Video: ARI@NYM: Syndergaard throws 7 innings of 1-run ball

When it looked as though Syndergaard may have to be put on the DL, Callaway turned his thoughts toward options for filling the vacancy. Vargas will move up one day to start in Syndergaard's place Wednesday, but that still leaves a hole in the rotation. Callaway had someone in mind.

Seth Lugo, the starter-turned-reliever whose run of excellent outings ended when Braves pinch-hitter Charlie Culberson took him deep for a walk-off, two-run home run in the first game of Monday's doubleheader, didn't have to hang his head for long after taking the blown save.

"I called [Lugo] into the office right after he blew the save and told him that was the reason we made him go two innings," Callaway said. "Because he'll be starting on Thursday."

The plan to get Lugo back in a starting slot has been in the back of Callaway's mind.

Video: TOR@NYM: Lugo catches Martin looking to retire side

"It's always something that we have to think about, the way we use guys," Callaway said. "It's not just 'throw them out there on any given day.' We really have to have a thought process of what's going on the next few days and use those guys accordingly. … You are going to have to pitch when your name is called. … They have to continue to accept it."

Lugo says that he is more comfortable as a starter despite pitching exclusively in relief (20 appearances) this season. And despite one pitch against the Braves on Monday, Lugo has been holding his own as a reliever. Throughout May, Lugo has made 11 appearances, striking out 21 with a 1.47 ERA through 18 1/3 innings.

"I'm really excited, you know, especially after that tough loss yesterday. I get to turn around and pitch again in a couple of days," Lugo said. "I have always been a starter … so it's easy for me to get back in that routine that I've always used."

Lugo contributed in the starting rotation last season, starting in all but one of his 19 appearances from June to September with the Mets. Lugo finished the season with a 7-5 record and a 4.71 ERA.

But Lugo won't be the only Mets reliever required to step up in the coming days. The Mets' manager specifically called out Paul Sewald, Robert Gsellman and Jacob Rhame as some guys he wants to see take up some of the slack in Lugo's absence from the bullpen.

"Other people are going to have to step up, because we are taking one of our better bullpen guys and putting him in the rotation," Callaway said. "But I think we all feel in the end that this is going to make us the best team."

Tori McElhaney is a reporter for MLB.com based in Atlanta.

New York Mets, Seth Lugo, Noah Syndergaard