Mets shut down Syndergaard, ‘pray’ for ’21 return

New York Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard has been shut down for six weeks with right elbow inflammation, manager Luis Rojas said Thursday.

“It’s big. We were just counting on him being here a month from now,” Rojas told reporters. “This happening is tough. … We pray he can pitch for us this year.”

Rojas said there was no structural damage to the UCL (ulnar collateral ligament).

On Tuesday, Syndergaard left his second rehab start following his recovery from Tommy John surgery after one inning (16 pitches) as a precautionary measure due to soreness in the elbow. He was scheduled to throw at least four innings for Class A St. Lucie.

Syndergaard had pitched four scoreless innings in his first outing for St. Lucie, allowing one hit with five strikeouts while throwing 44 pitches.

Mets acting general manager Zack Scott had said Monday that Syndergaard was on track for a mid-June return to the major league rotation.

Syndergaard, 28, missed the coronavirus-shortened 2020 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his pitching elbow that March. The former All-Star pitcher is scheduled to become a free agent after the 2021 season after reaching a one-year, $9.7 million deal for this season.

He threw a career-high 197⅔ innings in 2019 but posted a career-worst 4.28 ERA. The hard-throwing right-hander has a career 3.31 ERA in parts of five seasons, all with the Mets.

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