Mets RHP Noah Syndergaard will return from the disabled list to start Saturday's game against the Nationals at Citi Field, and will pitch one inning, GM Sandy Alderson said on Friday.
Alderson added that Syndergaard will be limited to one inning even if he doesn't throw a lot of pitches, with Matt Harvey replacing him in the second inning.
"This rehab process is both physical and mental," Alderson said. "Based on Noah's feedback, he feels good physically. We just want to get him back on a mound, if for only a moment ... so he's back out there, re-familiarized with the circumstances."
Syndergaard threw a simulated game Monday and later said he didn't want to rush his return.
"I don't want to try to rush it and jump back out there too early because it is kind of a serious injury," Syndergaard told reporters. "I've also heard a lot of stories of people re-injuring themselves. I want to make sure that doesn't happen. I know the team is taking precautions, pull the reigns back a little bit. I respect that."
Matthew Cerrone (Twitter | Instagram | About Me): I understand your concern, believe me. It makes total sense that we feel paranoid and hesitant to let Syndergaard pitch in an otherwise pointless season.
To us, there is no upside and only potential downside with him taking the mound in a game. It's been such a rough road for the Mets, in terms of injury, rehab, surgeries, who needs what and why, that it's easier to also assume pitching as little as one inning will be a road to disaster.
Sept. 18, 2017: Syndergaard throws a simulated game in Miami (Credit: @Mets on Twitter)
Earlier this week, in her editorial debut here on MetsBlog, Michelle argued that Syndergaard should not pitch. I tend agree, but I say this only if he can't pitch. Because, the fact is, this whole situation isn't complicated. It's actually fairly simple. If he can pitch in a big-league game, he should pitch in a big-league game. That's his job, as he sees it. It's what he does. He pitches. He gets big league hitters out. Of course, if he can't pitch, he 100% shouldn't pitch.
The benefit to pitching - according to every current and big-league pitcher I have ever talked with about the situation - is that it a) gives him confidence, but more importantly b) it lets him mentally and physically get on an offseason throwing schedule that puts him firmly on track to hit spring training in the proper rhythm. My hunch is the Mets understand this thinking, as silly as it may seem to us non professional athletes, because they're only letting him throw one inning. One. That's it. Throw your inning, Noah, find your confidence and rhythm and go home.
As I mentioned above, the fear I think we all have (given past precedent) is that even if he can pitch and does pitch he'll end up hurting himself again in some fatal way (be it worsening whatever had him on the DL in the first place or creating a new issue that will put next season in jeopardy). However, the sad reality of the human body is that this can happen any time to any player. If he has an underlying injury, he's just as likely to hurt his arm shooting a basketball or moving furniture as he is throwing 40 pitches in a baseball game.
So, again, I go back to my original point, which is pitch if he can pitch, don't pitch if he can't pitch. If the Mets follow this rule, as most MLB teams do, things should work out fine... I hope.
Syndergaard, who has been out since April 30, had hoped to return from a partially torn lat during this weekend's series against the Atlanta Braves, but the Mets reversed course and decided to have him face batters first.
"I am just anxious to get back," Syndergaard said recently, according to Kristie Ackert of the NY Daily News. "Right now we're out of it, but for my personal well-being I want to go out there and throw and not let 10 months go by without pitching in a meaningful baseball game -- I mean meaningful to me."
The 25-year-old Syndergaard had a 3.29 ERA and 1.09 WHIP with 32 strikeouts and two walks in five starts (27 1/3 innings) before going on the disabled list.