NEW YORK -- While shagging fly balls during batting practice Wednesday, Noah Syndergaard felt such discomfort that he could not lift his right arm above his shoulder. That may have been a dramatic symptom of what the Mets hope is a minor issue. But it was enough for the team
NEW YORK -- While shagging fly balls during batting practice Wednesday, Noah Syndergaard felt such discomfort that he could not lift his right arm above his shoulder. That may have been a dramatic symptom of what the Mets hope is a minor issue. But it was enough for the team to scratch Syndergaard from Thursday's scheduled start against the Braves.
Manager Terry Collins termed Syndergaard's issue a "tired arm," most likely stemming from tendinitis in his right biceps. The team alerted Matt Harvey on Thursday morning that he would start in Syndergaard's place, with Jacob deGrom and Zack Wheeler sliding forward to start Friday and Saturday on regular rest, respectively.
"It's quite obvious that we cannot take a chance on him, hurting this guy," Collins said, adding that Syndergaard could return to the rotation as soon as Sunday in Washington.
Syndergaard said he initially felt discomfort in his arm while throwing this week. He alerted trainers, who prescribed him anti-inflammatory medication, and felt "good as new" the following day. But that feeling subsided after a second throwing session, which left Syndergaard unable to lift his arm.
Still, Syndergaard reported to the ballpark Thursday expecting to pitch, until the Mets told him Harvey would start in his place. After the 7-5 loss to the Braves, Syndergaard demurred when asked if doctors had examined him. A Mets spokesman said the team would have no update until Friday.
"It's a little thing right now," Syndergaard said. "But we definitely don't want it to turn into a big thing."
Added Syndergaard: "In my opinion, I think it's very minor, and I'll get back on the field on Sunday."
The Mets' Opening Day starter, Syndergaard was as advertised in April, posting a 1.73 ERA with 30 strikeouts and zero walks in 26 innings. He has spoken often of his belief that his strict diet -- lots of fruit and vegetable juices -- and workout regimen can help him avoid the types of major arm injuries that have befallen teammates Harvey, Wheeler and Steven Matz in recent years.
While the Mets will know more in the coming days, Syndergaard downplayed the severity of this setback, calling it "discomfort" and "irritation" and "nothing too serious."
"He came in thinking he was going to pitch," Collins said. "It just doesn't make any sense to take a chance. This guy's a pretty big piece of the puzzle."
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.