Noah Syndergaard is close to returning and might jump straight to the big leagues without another rehab assignment, according to Anthony DiComo of MLB.com. The fireballer has had no shortage of obstacles to deal with this season. He underwent Tommy John surgery in March of 2020 and started his first rehab stint in May of this year. Unfortunately, that assignment was stopped when Syndergaard experienced some elbow inflammation and he didn’t get back on the mound until late August. Due to the small amount of time remaining in the season, the plan then was for him to return as a reliever, rather than the lengthier process of getting stretched out to start. But that second rehab assignment was shut down when he tested positive for COVID-19.
Despite the fact that there are only two weeks left in the MLB season now and the Mets seem to be fading out of the playoff picture, Syndergaard’s form in the remaining games is potentially very important for both he and the team. The 29-year-old is about to enter free agency and is a candidate for a qualifying offer. The quality and quantity of his appearances in the next two weeks could impact the club’s decision about whether or not to hand him that qualifying offer, as well as Syndergaard’s decision about whether or not to accept it.
More injury notes from around the league…
- Johnny Cueto is nearing a rehab assignment, per Maria I. Guardado of MLB.com. The 35-year-old has been out since September 1st with an elbow strain but is scheduled to throw a bullpen tomorrow. It’s unclear what the rehab plan for Cueto is, but there’s not a lot of time left in the season for him to be stretched out as a starter. The Giants have largely been able to weather the storm without him, clinging to a narrow lead in the NL West in spite of having the occasional bullpen game. The club has of late been using a four-man rotation of Kevin Gausman, Logan Webb, Alex Wood and Anthony DeSclafani. Cueto has been solid when healthy this season, throwing 112 1/3 innings with an ERA of 4.09.
- The plan for Stephen Strasburg is for him to begin throwing in November and be ready for spring training, Nationals manager Dave Martinez tells Todd Dybas of Inside the Clubhouse. Despite the Nationals stripping things down at this year’s deadline, it seems the club may be attempting a quick return to contention, as evidenced by their holding onto Juan Soto and targeting MLB-ready returns in their trades. A big wild card in that plan will be Strasburg’s health. The 33-year-old is a dominant pitcher when at his best, as evidenced by his excellent 2019 season, wherein he threw 209 innings with an ERA of 3.32 and then added 36 1/3 postseason innings with an ERA of 1.98, helping the club win the World Series and garnering himself World Series MVP honors. It was on the heels of that incredible performance that the Nationals and Strasburg agreed to a seven-year, $245M contract. However, since then, the righty has only been able to throw 26 2/3 innings due to various injuries, most recently going under the knife for neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome.