Oh Noah! More wait­ing!

New York Daily News - - SPORTS -

AT­LANTA — Re­hab is te­dious and Noah Syn­der­gaard is start­ing to get bored. It’s been four months since he has felt the adren­a­line of tak­ing the mound in a ma­jor league game pump through him. The Mets righthander has had to set­tle for bullpen ses­sions, two mi­nor-league re­hab ap­pear­ances and seem­ingly end­less days of play­ing catch.

“I am just anx­ious to get back. 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,” Syn­der­gaard said. “I mean mean­ing­ful to me.”

That means pitch­ing an in­ning or two in at least one of the Mets’ fi­nal 14 games to Syn­der­gaard, who has been on the dis­abled list since May with a torn right lat mus­cle.

But, seem­ingly in an abun­dance of cau­tion, the Mets are mak­ing Syn­der­gaard wait a lit­tle longer.

Af­ter say­ing he did not need to face hit­ters in a sim­u­lated game be­fore pitch­ing in a game, now Syn­der­gaard’s next step will be a sim­u­lated game early next week. The change seemed to have come af­ter a dis­cus­sion be­tween pitch­ing coach, Collins and GM Sandy Alder­son.

“We’re just try­ing to make sure we do it the right way, with­out rush­ing,” Terry Collins said. “There is no rea­son to rush so, we’re just go­ing to make sure we take baby steps.”

The rea­son for the change is that they are con­cerned about Syn­der­gaard, ex­cited to get back, amp­ing up the in­ten­sity too quickly. The last time he faced bat­ters, in a mi­nor league re­hab game, Syn­der­gaard ex­pe­ri­enced “gen­eral sore­ness,” three days later. He was pushed back from a sim­u­lated game then and his re­hab slowed down. The Mets are con­cerned that he would over-ex­ert him­self if he went out with­out a dry run fac­ing hit­ters first and they could have yet an­other set­back.

“Any­time there’s a hit­ter in there, there’s al­ways more ef­fort and con­cen­tra­tion,” Collins said.

While anx­ious to get back in a game, Syn­der­gaard said he un­der­stood the Mets’ con­cerns. All but one Mets starter, Satur­day night’s starter Jacob deGrom, has spent time on the dis­abled list this sea­son and Zack Wheeler and Steven Matz are al­ready done for the sea­son.

“Of course, just with all the in­juries through­out this year, they prob­a­bly want to be ex­tra care­ful,” Syn­der­gaard said, “but like I said, for me per­son­ally, it’s im­por­tant that I get back out there.”

That’s a more ma­ture and co­op­er­a­tive ap­proach than we saw from Syn­der­gaard ear­lier this year.

This is the 25-year-old’s first ex­pe­ri­ence miss­ing sig­nif­i­cant time with a se­ri­ous in­jury and maybe it has been a learn­ing process for him. He was crit­i­cized for now not lis­ten­ing to the Mets’ ad­vice ear­lier this year when he felt what they thought was bi­ceps ten­dini­tis. Syn­der­gaard re­fused to have an MRI on his arm and tried to talk his way into pitch­ing. The Mets pushed him back, but his very next start he went out throw­ing ex­cep­tion­ally hard and left in the se­cond in­ning with the torn right lat.

There has been de­bate about what caused Syn­der­gaard’s in­jury. Some blamed his off­sea­son at­tempts to get stronger and there are a few who be­lieve he was try­ing throw so hard to com­pen­sate for a bad de­fense be­hind him.

Ei­ther way, Syn­der­gaard is try­ing to be pa­tient, but has been away from the mound for over four months now and he feels like he is ready to get back.

“As of right now. Yeah, prob­a­bly,” Syn­der­gaard said when asked if he could pitch Sun­day. “Still, it’s like a slow process, and I am go­ing to make sure I am 100% ready to go, not just at 90%. So, we’ll be care­ful.” ut Syn­der­gaard still thinks it’s im­por­tant that he not go 10 months with­out pitch­ing. Ending the sea­son on as nor­mal a rou­tine, pitch­ing and throw­ing, as he pos­si­bly can is im­por­tant to him head­ing into the win­ter.

“I am not too con­cerned me com­ing back and not be­ing able to get big league hit­ters out, I am pretty com­fort­able with that,” Syn­der­gaard said. “I am just get­ting bored. It’s been four months since I’ve com­peted in a game, I am get­ting per­son­ally anx­ious to get out there.”


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