Mets’ Noah Syndergaard has torn UCL, will have Tommy John surgery

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NEW YORK — Noah Syndergaard has a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow and will undergo Tommy John surgery, a source confirmed to the Daily News.

The injury will force Syndergaard to miss the 2020 season, if or when Major League Baseball resumes this year. He is likely to return in the middle of the 2021 season, which is the final year of his contract with the Mets.

Dr. David Altchek, the team’s medical director, will perform the procedure on Thursday at the Hospital for Special Surgery.

Syndergaard’s torn UCL is a major blow to the Mets rotation; he’s the No. 2 starter behind Jacob deGrom. The club’s chances for playoff contention relied heavily on the success of its dominant rotation. Without Syndergaard’s power arm, the likelihood of a postseason run has significantly decreased.

The right-hander experienced discomfort in his elbow before spring training was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen. After his “symptoms” persisted, Syndergaard underwent an MRI that revealed the ligament tear.

He then received a second opinion from Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who confirmed the diagnosis and the recommendation for Tommy John surgery.

“Noah is an incredibly hard worker and a tremendous talent,” Van Wagenen said in a statement on Tuesday. “While this is unfortunate, we have no doubt that Noah will be able to return to full strength and continue to be an integral part of our Championship pursuits in the future.”

During spring training, Syndergaard kept repeating he was feeling “night and day” compared to his performance in previous Mets camps. He felt good on the mound, and it was noticeable.

Syndergaard struck out 11 batters with 97-98-mph fastballs across three starts and eight innings in exhibition games. Of the 31 batters he faced, only five reached base via base hits. The righty surrendered no walks and appeared strong, under control and poised for a stellar 2020 season.

Now, he joins Yankees right-hander Luis Severino and Red Sox ace Chris Sale in sustaining torn ligaments that led to Tommy John surgery and will cause them to miss the season.

The Mets are expected to bandage the wound in their rotation with the pitching depth Van Wagenen acquired over the offseason. Syndergaard’s injury also solves the dilemma of their six-man rotation.

Michael Wacha, who signed with the Mets as a free agent at the Winter Meetings, is expected to slide into the fifth spot in the rotation. That group will now feature back-to-back Cy Young award winner Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman, Rick Porcello, Steven Matz and Wacha.

In a competitive NL East division, that unit is considerably less threatening without Syndergaard’s otherworldly fastball every fifth day. It’s a heater he showcased in his rookie season, and used brilliantly in the Mets’ 2015 postseason run. But it ultimately led to Tommy John surgery this year.

The 27-year-old experienced a disappointing 2019 season, his fifth year in the big leagues, as he pitched to a career-high 4.28 ERA across 32 starts. Though Syndergaard remained healthy last year, he allowed 94 earned runs, which led the NL, and gave up a career-high 24 home runs. He allowed 42 stolen bases over 45 attempts before he finished with a 10-8 record and 1.234 WHIP.


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