New York Mets right-hander Noah Syndergaard exited his rehab start on Tuesday night earlier than planned because of right elbow soreness, according to the team. He was scheduled to throw four innings for the St. Lucie Mets, New York’s Class-A affiliate, but instead he departed after tossing a single frame.
Syndergaard threw 16 pitches, striking out one and walking another without permitting a hit against the Daytona Tortugas. (The Tortugas are the A-ball affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds.) Junior Santos replaced Syndergaard in the second inning.
Newsday’s Tim Healey tweeted that a scout in attendance had Syndergaard’s velocity slipping from the mid-90s into the 89-92 mph range. Meanwhile, Baseball Prospectus’ Jarrett Seidler shared Trackman data confirming that Syndergaard had bled velocity throughout.
Syndergaard, 28, is in the late stages of recovering from the Tommy John surgery he underwent last spring. These days, the expected timeline runs anywhere from 12 to 18 months, depending on the individual and the team. Syndergaard made his first rehab start last week, throwing four shutout innings and striking out five of the 13 batters he faced for St. Lucie.
Syndergaard has made 119 career big-league appearances, accumulating a 3.31 ERA (119 ERA+) and a 4.67 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He made the 2016 All-Star Game and received Cy Young and Most Valuable Player Award consideration that season, during which he amassed a 2.60 ERA over 183 innings. He’s slated to become a free agent at season’s end.
It’s worth noting that Syndergaard’s potential setback comes on the same night Jacob deGrom returned to the Mets’ rotation. New York currently has a majors-leading 16 players on the injured list, including four starting pitchers, three-fourths of its starting infield, and five outfielders.