Noah Syndergaard’s rehab from Tommy John surgery has hit a significant snag, leaving his Mets future in question.
The right-hander has been told to stop throwing for at least six weeks, after he was diagnosed with right elbow inflammation following an abbreviated rehab start Tuesday for Single-A St. Lucie. Once he is cleared to resume throwing, Syndergaard would have to build up from scratch, a process that would take the impending free-agent pitcher into mid-August or beyond.
Initially, the Mets hoped Syndergaard would return by mid-June.
“We pray that he can pitch for us this year,” manager Luis Rojas said before the Mets faced the Rockies in a doubleheader Thursday. “I think this is the right approach, being preventive rather than having anything major.”
Rojas added that no structural damage was detected to Syndergaard’s surgically repaired ulnar collateral ligament. Syndergaard underwent the surgery in March 2020.
Another pitcher on whom the Mets are relying, Carlos Carrasco, has been sidelined since spring training after tearing his right hamstring. The right-hander isn’t expected back before late-June or early-July, according to acting general manager Zack Scott.
“It’s hard not to have some of the guys healthy, around,” Rojas said. “Some guys that haven’t played yet for us, it’s hard, you want to see them here and they want to be here competing. But as hard as that is, you also want to take into consideration that everything [takes] time.”
Rojas said he isn’t thinking in terms of the possibility Syndergaard, 28, has pitched his final game for the Mets.
“I haven’t gone that far,” Rojas said. “I am aware that he can be a free agent after the season. Right now just being in the middle of the season I am looking forward to having everyone healthy at some point. With the respect of when that is going to be … those things are going to be taken care of on their own.”
Rojas indicated that Seth Lugo, who is rehabbing at Triple-A Syracuse and could join the Mets as soon as next week, hasn’t been discussed as a potential rotation option. The right-hander is working as a multi-inning reliever.
As it stands, the Mets have Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman, David Peterson and Joey Lucchesi for the starting rotation and hope Taijuan Walker will be activated from the injured list as soon as Friday. Another rotation option, Jordan Yamamoto, was placed on the 60-day IL this week with right shoulder soreness.
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