NEW YORK -- A much-anticipated Sunday Night Baseball matchup between Noah Syndergaard and Luis Severino will no longer occur. Syndergaard will not come off the disabled list as scheduled on Sunday, the Mets announced, due to a setback he experienced while playing catch this week.
Instead, right-hander Seth Lugo will start for the Mets.
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"It's something we knew that could happen," manager Mickey Callaway said. "We would love for him to pitch on Sunday. That's not the case, so Seth Lugo's going to step up and do a good job for us in his stead."
On the DL since May 26 due to a strained ligament in his right index finger, Syndergaard threw a simulated game earlier this week, trying to prove to the Mets that he was ready to return. But the right-hander felt "a little bit of swelling and a little bit of discomfort" in his finger following a game of catch later in the week, according to Callaway, prompting the Mets to scratch him from the start.
Still, Callaway said the issue is not as serious as it was when Syndergaard last pitched in a big league game May 25. Syndergaard is "not necessarily starting from scratch" as he tries to make his way back to the mound, Callaway said, with plans to throw a bullpen session early next week.
In the absence of Syndergaard, who was 4-1 with a 3.06 ERA in 11 outings, Lugo will make his second start of the season. Throwing four shutout innings in a spot start for Syndergaard on May 31, Lugo bounced back to the bullpen when the Mets took advantage of team off days to skip Syndergaard's next turn. The Mets hope Lugo, who threw three scoreless innings in a subsequent relief outing, can last into the fifth or sixth inning this time around.
"You always have to obviously communicate with him in games, in these situations," Callaway said. "He can get stretched out a little bit more than what he's been lately."
Overall, Lugo owns a 2.04 ERA in one start and 21 relief appearances, establishing himself as one of baseball's better swingmen. Although the Mets are confident having Lugo return to their rotation, they regret the fact that it weakens their bullpen -- particularly with closer Jeurys Familia on the DL.
"Injuries are injuries," Callaway said. "No matter how many you have, you have to have guys that step up and get the job done. It can't be an excuse. You don't want to write the season off because you're having injuries. We still have Major League players out there who can go out and get the job done."