NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Noah Syndergaard will make his first major league start in nearly five months Saturday. But don’t arrive to the ballpark late or you might miss it.
The Mets announced Friday that the right-hander will pitch only the first inning against the Nationals at Citi Field. He will then be replaced by Matt Harvey.
Syndergaard has been on the disabled list since May 1 with a partially torn right lat muscle.
General manager Sandy Alderson said starting Syndergaard, rather than shutting him down for the rest of the season, was part of the All-Star’s mental rehab.
“Based on Noah’s feedback, he feels good physically,” Alderson said. “We just want to get him back on the mound, if for only a moment relatively before the season ends so that he’s back out there, he’s refamiliarized with the circumstances and the fact that he’s in a big-league game and he goes into the offseason with that little bit of additional confidence.”
Manager Terry Collins didn’t rule out that Syndergaard could make a second apperance before the season ends Oct. 1.
“I’m going to be really happy to see him, especially after he comes out and Sunday morning he comes in and says, ‘Boy, I feel good,'” Collins said. “That’ll be a relief. That’s certainly what we’re looking forward to. We’ll hope it leads to a second appearance, hopefully. But I just think getting him out there is step one of what these guys go through rehab-wise, and it is a grueling process, make no mistake. These guys don’t like it. It’s hard. They want to get back to what they do. This is what they like to do.”
Collins’ contract will expire after the season, and whether he’ll back with the Mets remains unclear.
Alderson tried not to give away anything one way or the other.
“We’ve had very few of those conversations, and as I’ve said before, that situation, his, will be resolved very shortly after the end of the season,” the general manager told reporters. “And beyond that, we’re just not getting into a sort of public conversation about it.”
If this is it for Collins, that means he’s about to begin the final homestand of his seven-year run leading the team. He, however, said he has not really thought about that fact.
“I’ve got enough of my plate trying to figure out this pitching, trying to figure out getting guys playing time,” he said. “That’s where the focus is going to be, and it’ll be there certainly for the next 10 days.”
What About Harvey?
When asked if he envisions Harvey returning to the team in 2018, Alderson said:
“At this moment, I favor the idea of him being back next season.”
For the second year in a row, Harvey has had a brutal, injury-plagued season. He is 5-6 with a 6.59 ERA.
Harvey is eligible for arbitration this offseason before becoming a free agent the following year.