New York Mets starter Noah Syndergaard pitches against the Washington Nationals in the first inning of a baseball game, Friday, July 8, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek)
Kathy Kmonicek
July 08, 2016

NEW YORK (AP) Injuries are piling up at a dizzying pace for the New York Mets. This time, it was their two best players who went down.

Yoenis Cespedes and Noah Syndergaard were removed early from Friday night's 3-1 loss to the rival Washington Nationals, only hours after New York announced that struggling pitcher Matt Harvey will have season-ending surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome.

''I guess it's part of the game. I've never had it in such mass before, to where it's every day. It's hard to walk into this room because the conversation is about who got hurt tonight,'' manager Terry Collins said. ''As you guys know, I'm a little tired of talking about it. That's my job to talk about it, but I'm running out of things to say and we're running out of bodies.''

Cespedes was pulled after three innings with a strained right quadriceps and said he hopes to return after the All-Star break next week. The slugger got hurt chasing Daniel Murphy's RBI double to deep center field in the third and was replaced by Juan Lagares in the fourth.

With his velocity dropping, Syndergaard (9-4) exited in the fifth with arm fatigue that was not elbow-related, the Mets said. The big right-hander has been pitching with a bone spur in his right elbow that he called ''pretty insignificant.''

''His arm went dead. He's got a tired arm and (his) stuff went away,'' Collins said. ''But he said there's no pain.''

Cespedes and Syndergaard were selected for the All-Star Game in San Diego, but both are unlikely to participate, Collins said. They are expected to be examined Saturday.

Collins will manage the National League squad Tuesday and said before Friday night's game that Syndergaard would definitely pitch in the Midsummer Classic, a pledge that lasted just a few hours.

''It's disappointing, but there will be a lot more,'' Syndergaard said. ''It's a long season, you put a lot of wear and tear on your body, just right now I think I need a little break.''

Already on the disabled list for well more than a month now are first baseman Lucas Duda and third baseman David Wright. Not to mention right-hander Zack Wheeler, making a slow recovery from March 2015 Tommy John surgery.

Wright is almost certainly out for the season following neck surgery to repair a herniated disk. Duda isn't expected back anytime soon, and there's no longer a timetable for Wheeler's return following a few setbacks in his rehabilitation program.

''We just have to keep going. As I've told you before, nobody in baseball feels sorry for us,'' Collins said.

With two outs in the fifth and a 2-2 count on Jayson Werth, Syndergaard stepped off the rubber. He was throwing his sizzling fastball in the high-90s (mph) earlier in the game, but his first two heaters to Werth clocked 93 mph.

''Didn't have that late life, that little bit of extra whip at the end. I could tell something wasn't necessarily right,'' Syndergaard said.

Mets catcher Rene Rivera visited the mound and then went back behind the plate before Collins and assistant trainer Brian Chicklo came out of the dugout, drawing groans from the crowd.

Syndergaard waved his glove in their direction as if to shoo them away, but after a meeting on the mound, he walked back to the dugout with Chicklo.

''I feel like I could have finished the inning out,'' Syndergaard said. ''I think I was still spotting up, but just, I'd look at the radar gun and see 93, 94 (mph). It's pretty uncharacteristic of me.''

Seth Lugo relieved with New York trailing 3-0 and was given all the time he needed to warm up. The rookie right-hander tossed two hitless innings.

''I didn't feel any pain, no discomfort, just fatigue, really,'' Syndergaard said. ''I just think it's that time of the year - my first full season in the big leagues. I've thrown a lot of pitches. I've thrown a lot of innings.''

He reiterated that the issue had nothing to do with his bone spur.

''It all boils down to a little shoulder fatigue,'' Syndergaard said. ''I felt like it was probably building up throughout the game a little bit. ... I got checked out after the game when I got pulled out, and no concerns from the doctor.''

Stephen Strasburg (12-0) threw seven innings of two-hit ball and Clint Robinson hit a two-run homer for the Nationals, who extended their NL East lead to four games over the Mets after New York won the opener of the four-game set Thursday night.

Jonathan Papelbon earned his 18th save.

It was the first matchup between Syndergaard and Strasburg, who is 3-0 with a 1.83 ERA in three outings against the Mets this year.

The start was delayed 37 minutes by rain.

TAKE THAT!

Murphy, booed again by the Citi Field crowd of 35,030, has hit safely in all 11 games against the Mets since they let him leave as a free agent in the offseason. He's batting .409 with 15 RBIs and five of his career-high 15 homers vs. New York.

UP NEXT

Max Scherzer (9-6, 3.21 ERA) pitches Saturday night against RHP Logan Verrett (3-5, 4.01), who starts in place of Harvey.

You May Like