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New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard, who underwent Tommy John surgery in March, said on a Zoom chat with youth baseball players that he expects to be back in time for Opening Day of the 2021 season.
“I think this is the best time to [rehab] considering there is no baseball right now, but I fully intend to be ready for next Opening Day, but doing it in a smart way,” Syndergaard said, per Mike Puma of the New York Post. “The rehab is 12-15 months and I see that as a competition.”
As Syndergaard referenced, the start of the MLB season has been delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. There is no concrete timetable for the campaign’s start, but Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported that early July is the best-case scenario.
Syndergaard, 27, went 10-8 with a 4.28 ERA and 202 strikeouts in 197.2 innings last season.
It was a down year by Syndergaard’s standards, as the right-hander had posted a 2.93 ERA and 9.9 strikeouts per nine innings in his first four seasons before 2019. He was an integral part of the National League champion 2015 Mets thanks to a 9-7 mark, 3.24 ERA and 166 strikeouts in 150 innings.
Syndergaard is one of the game’s most electric pitchers at his best, one who’s nearly unhittable. He’s had three complete-game wins over the last two seasons, including a 10-strikeout shutout over the Cincinnati Reds last May.
His return will be a welcome sight to the Mets’ rotation, which is currently led by back-to-back Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom. Marcus Stroman, Steven Matz, Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha figure to round out the rotation in Syndergaard’s absence if and when the 2020 season begins.