By Zach Gewelb
It looks like the Mets may finally be making the right decision when it comes to dealing with an injury.
Noah Syndergaard, out since early May with a partially torn lat muscle, was scratched from throwing a planned simulated game last weekend after it was revealed the ace was suffering from “general body soreness.” Rather than have Syndergaard continue with his rehab, the Mets shut him down for the time being, which was 100 percent the right call.
It’s no secret how terrible the Mets have handled injuries in the past — especially this season — but it seems they have finally realized the error in their ways. Shutting Syndergaard down is the best thing for the Mets, and the best thing for Syndergaard. If there’s even a hint Syndergaard may be sore or hurt, there’s absolutely no reason to rush him back. Not in a lost season. Maybe if the Mets were in a pennant race it would make sense to rush him back. But that’s not the case.
In five 2017 starts, Syndergaard went 1-2 with a 3.29 ERA.
General Manager Sandy Alderson spoke to reporters about Syndergaard’s recent set back and said there is no mandate on when the righty will return.
“There is a normal rehabilitation process and we want to take full advantage of the amount of time that we have before the end of the season to pursue that rehabilitation process,” Alderson said. “But we are not going to abbreviate it. We’re not going to compromise it. If he pitches this year, he pitches.”
While Alderson understands it is more important that his ace is more valuable to the team fresh and healthy to start the 2018 season, there is some upside to a possible return before the end of the 2017 season, according to manager Terry Collins.
“The upside is that when he goes to the winter time all he has to do is worry about getting ready for spring training and not have to rehab,’’ Collins told reporters Sunday. “The rehab process that started to take place at the end of April hopefully has reached its course to where he can say, ‘Hey, look, I am healthy.’ I can go into the winter and do my thing instead of backing off until spring training starts.’’
It may be tempting to have Syndergaard return to the rotation and end the 2017 on a positive note, but that’s not the right call. Give Noah a break. Shut him down and give him a chance to enter the 2018 campaign healthy with a chip on his shoulder and something to prove. He’ll be much more valuable starting the team’s season opener next year than starting its season finale in October.
Reach reporter Zach Gewelb by e-mail at zgewe