Mets' Luis Rojas on Noah Syndergaard's potential bullpen role if rehab goes well: 'He would be a force'

·2 min read
Noah Syndergaard throws home side cropped
Noah Syndergaard throws home side cropped

Mets RHP Noah Syndergaard (Tommy John surgery recovery) began his rehab assignment Thursday with a start at High-A Brooklyn. He is set to make another for the Cyclones this weekend, a 4 p.m. game against Baltimore-affiliated Aberdeen, New York manager Luis Rojas confirmed.

"Yes, yes, he's pitching Sunday again," Rojas said before Friday's game against the Washington Nationals, a 7:10 p.m. start at Citi Field. "He's going to Brooklyn. This time, he's looking at doing an up-down, obviously looking at how the pitch count is after the first inning he goes out there."

Thursday against Aberdeen, Syndergaard threw 16 pitches (12 strikes) in one inning. He allowed a leadoff home run, got two groundouts to the right side, hit a batter and struck another out.

His breaking pitches were absent, but he touched 96 mph on the first couple of pitches and a range between 93-95 mph. Rojas was asked about Syndergaard's comments on throwing curveballs and sliders before pointing to another pitch that has developed.

"I know he shared that last night," Rojas said. "That's something that we haven't talked about. We knew in his outing he was going to do that. But the doctor's recommendation -- that was something that, personally, I wasn't aware. So we'll talk more about that as he keeps progressing and keeps ramping up with the innings and the pitches and everything and see where he's at.

"But as of now, he has an opportunity to keep working on his changeup -- was a pitch that's developed throughout his rehab and his work that he's done off the slope. As far as the breaking pitches, we'll talk more and more as he's probably getting closer to us or he keeps having those outings in the rehab assignment."

Syndergaard, who turns 29 on Sunday, has not made an appearance for the Mets since 2019. After taking note of Syndergaard's openness to work in a bullpen role if he makes his return this season, Rojas did not mince words about Syndergaard's potential.

"It would be extremely important," Rojas said of Syndergaard's return. "I mean, Noah's presence is always a huge presence when it comes down to pitching in the game of baseball, right? Everyone, I mean, is aware of who he is.

"So having him, at some point, in any role -- and you guys know that he's been open to pitching out of the bullpen -- I think he'll be great to have. I mean, he would be a force. So let's get there first. I mean, we've got some business to take care of. And we pray that when Noah joins us, it's at the right time ... his presence to finish some things up for keep winning some games."