The New York Mets may be without Noah Syndergaard for three months.
According to the New York Post’s Joel Sherman, the Mets are getting a second opinion on Syndergaard’s torn lat muscle after one doctor estimated that it would take three months to heal.
Syndergaard’s injury comes after he pitched just four outs on Sunday before having to be pulled with shoulder pain. That came after he was scratched from a Thursday start with bicep pain and then later refused an MRI on his arm.
To famous pitching coach and NFL quarterback guru Tom House, this injury was “waiting to happen.” Syndergaard reportedly added 17 pounds of muscle while giving his arm a break over the offseason. House told Bob Klapisch in February that Syndergaard’s offseason of lifting weights and not throwing was bad news.
“Unfortunately, this is an injury waiting to happen by the second week of June. Unless you’re picking up a ball while you’re getting stronger, you’re just adding muscle that doesn’t know how to throw. It’s unskilled muscle … There’s a 60 to 63 per cent likelihood [of getting injured]. I’m sure he feels great today, I’m sure he’s throwing well. But what he’s done is the worst-case scenario.”
House, who was a pitching coach with the Texas Rangers and is credited with extending Nolan Ryan’s career, according to Klapisch, believes throwing every day keeps a pitcher’s arm flexible. While Syndergaard, like many modern pitchers, believed rest for the arm was in order, House believes the opposite.
“The best-case scenario is that he added 17 pounds of skilled muscle that’s trained to throw. But he didn’t. That’s why I’m concerned about this.”
House also spoke to Tyler Kepner of the New York Times after Syndergaard’s injury and expressed regret. “I hate being right about these kinds of things.”
Syndergaard, who combines insane power — he was still hitting 100 miles per hour on the day of his injury — with several skilled pitches, like his nearly unhittable slider is not unfamiliar with these concerns. Told of House’s concerns, Syndergaard told Klapsich, “I get what [House] is saying. He might be right if I was bunched up and tight. But my arm is loose, my flexibility is good. I’m not worried.” He added that Nolan Ryan lifted weights, too.
Concerns over Syndergaard’s power were also raised last season. One GM told Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci, “Physical freaks come along once a generation. He’s either that or this is not sustainable. The odds tell you that it’s not sustainable.”
The Mets have been going through a brutal patch of injuries, and now, they may be without perhaps their top pitcher until July. Syndergaard is just 24, but going forward, the Mets are going to have to take special care to monitor his arm and his throwing to help him reach his considerably high ceiling.
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