Mets’ right-hander Noah Syndergaard pitched in a competition setting for the first time since May on Sunday as he took the hill for Short-A Brooklyn.
Syndergaard, 25, has been sidelined with a strained finger ligament that has flared up several times since he’s been on the disabled list, but he told reporters after his outing on Sunday that he didn’t have any issues.
“Finger felt great, no problems at all,” he said.
The artist known as Thor had a rough first inning, walking a batter and allowing a hit and then later throwing a wild pitch to let a run score, but would buckle down to throw five solid innings. He struck out seven when all was said and done.
“Catching him was pretty easy because he knows where everything is going,” said Nick Meyer, the Mets 2018 sixth round pick out of Cal Poly. “He has four pitches he can put wherever he wants and it was kind of cool to pick his brain and see what he wants to do with cutters and how he attacks guys and what he wants to do [on the mound]. He taught me a lot.”
Meyer, who notched a hit on the afternoon as well called the experience “Unreal. He’s the best guy I have ever caught.”
The 6’6″ Texas native attributed some of his early troubles to mound issues.
“[I] was letting the mound kind of get to me, […] kind of threw me off a little bit,” he said. “So I was thinking about that too much. It still affected me as the game went on, but I tried to ignore it.
“First inning was a little rough, but I felt like I got in a good rhythm, a good groove as the game went on.”
Syndergaard mixed up his arsenal against the Staten Island Yankees in the Cyclones’ 2-1 victory and said he was able to throw all of his pitches efficiently.
“Felt pretty comfortable using all my pitches at any given time,” he said. “I visualized it as if I was facing a big league team.”
Cyclones manager Edgardo Alfonzo told reporters after the game that he liked that Syndergaard was working on his off-speed stuff despite being a power pitcher.
“He was working on his out pitches,” Alfonzo said. “Hopefully, he’ll feel good with that approach. I told the guys to get as much as you can from him since he’s one of the best pitchers in the big leagues and watch the way he acts.”
Syndergaard, along with fellow ace Jacob deGrom have been rumored to be trade targets leading up to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. The fourth-year big leaguer, however, said any rumors haven’t bothered him, and that truthfully, he’s been kind of out of the loop.
“Not really, no. I’ve been kind of unplugged recently,” he said. “I don’t think much of it because I have zero control over it, so I can’t waste my energy worrying about something that may or may not happen.”
Alfonzo said that he believes Syndergaard should stay put and shouldn’t be traded, as he is one of the best pitchers in the game right now.
“I don’t think he should be the guy that’s traded right now,” he said. “But it’s a business and anything can happen.”
The next step for the former 14-game winner is to go to Citi Field Monday and evaluate where he is and how he’s feeling.