Going into the 2017 season, the New York Mets had one of the deepest starting rotations in the MLB. After a few major injuries however, they suddenly have a much thinner rotation.
On Monday, the Mets announced that ace Noah Syndergaard would be placed on the 10-day disabled list with a partially torn lat muscle in his right arm. This move came after he had an MRI that revealed the partial tear. Even though he is on the 10-day disabled list for now, Syndergaard is expected to be sidelined for much longer than that. There is a good chance that he will miss a couple months. During the 2015 season, Mets left-hander Steven Matz had a partially torn lat muscle in his pitching arm. Matz ended up missing two months.
Syndergaard was scheduled to pitch last Thursday afternoon against the Atlanta Braves. However, he was scratched from the start just hours before the game due to biceps and shoulder discomfort. Mets general manager Sandy Alderson wanted Syndergaard to go for an MRI. The team scheduled an MRI for him on Friday, but Syndergaard refused to have one. He threw a bullpen session on that day instead.
After throwing the bullpen session, Syndergaard told reporters that he felt good. Alderson decided to let him pitch on Sunday in D.C. against the Washington Nationals. Early on in the game, it was apparent that something clearly was not right with Syndergaard. He gave up five runs in the first inning. His pitches were not moving like they normally do. Mets manager Terry Collins realized that Syndergaard was in pain when he grabbed his right side after throwing a pitch to Bryce Harper. This was in the bottom of the second inning. Collins pulled him from the game immediately.
It was revealed after the game that Syndergaard had a possible lat strain. He had an MRI in New York the next morning, which officially revealed the injury that the Mets had feared.
The Mets will now have to find a way to survive without their ace for the next few months. In 2016, Syndergaard had a dominant year and was clearly the Mets best pitcher. He was 14-9 and had an ERA of 2.60. Syndergaard had gotten off to a good start this season. He was 1-2 with a 3.29 ERA before getting injured.
Right-hander Rafael Montero will take Syndergaard’s place in the rotation for now. Montero has struggled over the course of his short MLB career. In 30 career games for the Mets, he has a 5.51 ERA. The reason that the Mets have to turn to Montero is because Matz and Seth Lugo are still working their way back from injuries. Neither pitcher has played at all this season. Matz is dealing with an elbow injury and is expected to be out for at least a few more weeks. Lugo has a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow. On Tuesday, he threw off the rubber for the first time since suffering the injury. Right now, there is no clear timetable for Lugo’s return.
It will not be easy, but the Mets will have to stay competitive without their best pitcher. Right now, the expectation is to have him back sometime around the All-Star break. At that point, the team can only hope that they are still fighting for a playoff spot.