NEW YORK – Noah Syndergaard is scheduled to open Tuesday night for the New York Mets, returning to a major league mound for the first time in two years and completing his long comeback from Tommy John surgery.
The team also announced that ace Jacob deGrom will not be releasing this season. The two-time Cy Young Award winner has been sidelined since mid-July due to a healing elbow injury, according to the club.
He’s been throwing bullpens recently, including a successful one on Monday, with an eye toward a possible comeback this year. But with the Mets out of playoff contention, deGrom and the club agreed that it makes no sense for him to start a game even though he is healthy, manager Luis Rojas explained.
“Everyone is totally in agreement,” Rojas said, adding that deGrom should have a normal offseason. “It’s the right thing to do. I think when he comes back in spring training he will be the Jake we know.”
Syndergaard was reinstated from the 60-day disabled list and will begin the second game of a single-admission doubleheader against the Miami Marlins at Citi Field. The Mets announced the move about two and a half hours before the first game, which was started by Marcus Stroman.
Syndergaard, 29, can become a free agent after the season, and the Mets must decide how much they want him back and whether to make him a qualified one-year offer.
“We want to see him pitch,” Rojas said. “The organization will benefit from seeing him act.”
The right-hander’s return comes too late to help the 2021 Mets, who were eliminated from the postseason chase last weekend. New York (73-82) led the NL East for three months, but began to take a nosedive when the schedule changed to August.
Syndergaard, a 2016 All-Star, is expected to pitch just one inning Tuesday night and could make another appearance before the season ends on Sunday. He and the Mets were initially aiming to return in June, but his rehab progression was slowed by an elbow pain that caused him to be detained in late May for a while and then a positive test for COVID-19 at the end. August even though he’s vaccinated.
“I think it’s going to give everyone here an idea of where he is,” Rojas said.
Syndergaard made a couple of rehab appearances last week for Triple-A Syracuse, working one inning at a time. He allowed one hit and struck out two in two scoreless innings.
On the advice of doctors, Syndergaard stopped throwing his slider when he resumed rehab this summer because they thought the throw might have caused the elbow discomfort he experienced in the spring.
So, on his own, Syndergaard decided to rule out his curve for now as well. He said he thinks he can be effective, at least in short periods, with just his four-seam, two-seam and switch fastball.
“He’s excited. He wants to get in and compete,” Rojas said. “It’s been a long road … He worked very hard to get to this position.”
It will be Syndergaard’s first major league outing since Sept. 29, 2019, against Atlanta. He tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow in spring training in March 2020 and underwent Tommy John surgery that same month.
Syndergaard will be the Mets’ 29th man on the doubleheader. To make room for him on the 40-man roster, wide receiver Chance Sisco was designated for assignment.
Once the toughest starter in the majors, Syndergaard made it to the majors in 2015 and helped the Mets reach the World Series that year. He is 47-30 with a 3.31 ERA in 119 career games (118 as a starter), all with New York.