Mets say Noah Syndergaard’s Tommy John surgery went as expected

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NEW YORK — Noah Syndergaard’s Tommy John surgery on his torn right ulnar collateral ligament went as expected on Thursday, according to a Mets official.

The right-hander will begin his long road to recovery — which includes an extensive rehab that is expected to take anywhere from 12-15 months. Syndergaard will miss the 2020 season and return to the mound, at the earliest, in April 2021.

Mets medical director, Dr. David Altchek, performed the surgery at the newly opened Hospital for Special Surgery in West Palm Beach, Fla.

Syndergaard, 27, tore his UCL before spring training was suspended earlier this month due to the coronavirus pandemic. A source familiar with the situation believes the injury occurred after his final Grapefruit League outing on March 8.

He underwent tests after flagging the discomfort in his elbow to the Mets medical department. An MRI revealed the torn UCL and Dr. Neal ElAttrache recommended the surgery.

The Mets remain confident in Syndergaard’s eventual return following a rehab that will cost him the 2020 season. Major League Baseball continues to work on a potentially shortened season schedule as the aftereffects of the coronavirus outbreak remain unknown.

“Noah is an incredibly hard worker and a tremendous talent,” general manager Brodie Van Wagenen said 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.”

The club will march ahead with a weakened rotation that features Jacob deGrom, Marcus Stroman, Rick Porcello, Steven Matz and Michael Wacha. Beyond those five starters, the Mets lack pitching depth in their minor league system. Left-hander David Peterson received high praise from manager Luis Rojas during spring camp. Though he’s expected to begin the 2020 season with Triple-A Syracuse, Peterson could become an option down the line for the Mets.

Tommy John surgery is a devastating setback for any pitcher, but Syndergaard’s injury arrived at an especially bad time. Next season highlights the final year Syndergaard is under team control. In November 2021, the right-handed flamethrower will enter free agency. The challenge for Syndergaard will be finding a balance between pitching at full strength and remaining healthy in his walk year.

It’s an uphill battle for a pitcher who made his 2015 big league debut with a 100-mph fastball. Syndergaard impressed the baseball world when he pitched out of relief in Game 5 of the 2015 NLDS — as a young 22-year-old starter with long blonde locks and immense potential.

Syndergaard had made it his goal in 2020 to eclipse 200 innings. It’s a milestone the righty has been chasing across five years in the majors, but injury-ridden seasons have prevented it from happening. He came closest to achieving his goal in 2019, hurling 197 2/3 innings over 32 starts. But Syndergaard’s mostly healthy season came with a career-high 4.28 ERA (his 94 earned runs allowed were the most in the National League) and 24 long balls.

The right-hander was enjoying his spring camp before sustaining the injury. Syndergaard kept saying it was “night and day” compared to his preparation and results in previous camps. He hurled 97-98 mph heaters and sharp sliders generated a handful of swings and misses. He was poised for, what could have been, an incredible bounceback season.

Now the Mets, with modest pitching depth, will wait rather impatiently for Syndergaard’s 2021 return.


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