Mets RHP Noah Syndergaard, who has been out since April 30 due to a torn lat, said he's feeling great but is not close to throwing a baseball as he continues to work his way back from the injury.
"Lats are tricky, just because it's very specific," Syndergaard said Thursday during an interview with Boomer and Carton on WFAN. "If you come back too soon, you could really put yourself in a situation to injure yourself again."
Syndergaard wouldn't give a timetable when asked when he might return.
"I probably won't be able to pick up a ball for quite some time," he said. "I have no pain right now, but I want to make sure my lat is nice and stretched out and flexible before I'm ready to go."
Syndergaard said he doesn't regret refusing to get an MRI prior to his lat injury, noting that there was nothing structurally wrong and that he "felt great."
Apr 30, 2017; Syndergaard (34) walks off the field after an apparent injury. Burke-USA TODAY Sports (Geoff Burke)
Syndergaard, who put on muscle during the offseason in an effort to throw harder, said he has no plans to change the way he trains.
"I take a lot of pride in the way I train," he said. "I like to think I train in a smart way. Try to be as strong as possible, try to be as much like Nolan Ryan. That guy was all about lifting and working hard, and was able to pitch until he was 48 years old."
Regarding his relationship with the Mets after the MRI situation, Syndergaard said while they had their differences, he feels the relationship is stronger for it.
In Syndergaard's absence, the Mets have used Rafael Montero, Adam Wilk, Tommy Milone, and Tyler Pill as rotation fill-ins, but will get Steven Matz and Seth Lugo (both of whom have missed the entire season) back this weekend against the Braves.
The Mets may use a six-man rotation even after this weekend's doubleheader against the Braves, manager Terry Collins said on Wednesday.
Syndergaard, who is on the 60-day disabled list, has a 3.29 ERA and 1.10 WHIP with two walks and 32 strikeouts in 27 1/3 innings (five starts) this season.
Based on what I heard at the time of his injury, the plan was for Syndergaard to get re-evaluated three or four weeks after the initial injury, i.e., last week or so. If everything was clear, and he is pain free, he should have been allowed to do light throwing on flat ground. The fact that it's now June 8, or six weeks since the injury, and he still hasn't picked up a baseball, is probably an indicator that things aren't progressing in the way everyone initially hoped.
Again, I was told to expect Syndergaard back on the mound for the Mets roughly one month after he starts throwing on flat ground. The plan, as it was for Steven Matz, will be flat ground for a week, increased intensity on a mound for a week or so, and then minor-league rehab games with a promotion after he's able to last five or six innings without pain.
So, that said, given what he told WFAN, it seems the best case scenario is getting Syndergaard back in the rotation during late July, early August. However, that assumes he starts throwing during the next two weeks. If he doesn't, if we get no news of him throwing before the end of June, as much as I hate to say it, it's hard to imagine Syndergaard pitching again in 2017.