NEW YORK (AP) Noah Syndergaard hair hats were given to the first 15,000 fans at the New York Mets' game against the Miami Marlins on Saturday night. That is the closest the star pitcher's flowing blond locks will get to the Citi Field mound in the next few months.
Syndergaard will be sidelined through at least the All-Star break because of a torn muscle behind his right arm.
The hardest-throwing starting pitcher in the major leagues with an average fastball velocity of 98.1 mph this year, Syndergaard partially tore his latissimus dorsi against Washington last Sunday. The 24-year-old right-hander has been told not to throw for about six weeks and he will need a long period to build up arm strength again, equivalent to a full spring training,
''It stings,'' Syndergaard said Saturday , two days after he was examined in Los Angeles by Dr. Neal ElAttrache.
Syndergaard was scratched from an April 27 start against Atlanta with what the Mets said was biceps and shoulder discomfort. He pitched April 30 at Washington, lasted just 1 1/3 innings and went on the 10-day disabled list the following day.
''I don't regret it at all,'' he said. ''I threw a bullpen two days prior and I felt great, ready to go. Just something weird happened.''
Syndergaard threw a 2-1 changeup to Bryce Harper and immediately grabbed under his right armpit with his left arm and left the game.
''I thought I felt it, a little something, on the pitch before, but, I mean, it hadn't been really anything I hadn't felt before. I just kind of felt like a little ache in my arm. And then I threw another pitch, and that's when I really felt it,'' Syndergaard said.
Nicknamed Thor for his hair, size and swagger, Syndergaard is 1-2 with a 3.29 ERA in five starts this year after going 14-9 with a 2.60 ERA last season.
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson wouldn't give a timetable for Syndergaard's return and said the pitcher could be put on the 60-day DL.
''Realistically, it's going to take a while. We don't know when he's going to be back,'' Alderson said before Saturday's 11-3 win over Miami. ''It's going to be much later in the season.''
When Syndergaard missed his turn against the Braves, he refused the Mets' request to have an MRI - a decision Alderson said ''went sideways.''
''He's definitely in that case, assuming that we acquiesce, eliminating some information that probably would have been useful, but that doesn't mean that it would have been dispositive,'' Alderson said. ''The situation was such that to me the MRI was not a critical element to the decision-making.''
Alderson rejected the notion that Syndergaard bulked up too much during offseason workouts, saying at most he put on a few pounds, and conditioning was part of the pitcher's drive to succeed.
''It might be easy to pick off one thing that was excessive, that may have been excessive,'' Alderson said. ''Who knows whether given that sort of mentality he would be where he is if he didn't have it, I mean if he didn't have that personality?''
Rafael Montero filled Syndergaard's slot Friday night and gave up five runs in 3 2/3 innings against Miami before New York rallied from a six-run deficit for an 8-7 win. Alderson was disappointed with the outing and said the Mets will look within and outside the organization for options.
''We've got to see some results,'' manager Terry Collins said.
Right-hander Seth Lugo and left-hander Steven Matz, both recovering from elbow injuries that have sidelined them since spring training, aren't expected to be available until late May. Trades are difficult to complete but not impossible.
''Early May is not when most clubs are prepared to make serious decisions about their roster and move players that they might move at the deadline,'' Alderson said.
Left fielder Yoenis Cespedes, out since April 27 with a strained left hamstring, will return to New York on Monday for what Alderson said will be ''an evaluation that is a little broader than just the hamstring, to try and get to the question of why he may have recurring hamstring injuries.''
First baseman Lucas Duda, on the disabled list since April 20 with a hyperextended left elbow, was to take at-bats in a simulated game this weekend and could be back soon.
NOTES: Syndergaard apologized to Mets vice president of media relations Jay Horwitz for snapping at him for allowing reporters to question him at his locker after the April 27 start he missed. Syndergaard had spoken before the game. ''I was just kind of a little confused as to why the media was approaching me after the game when I didn't think anything had changed. I didn't mean anything disrespectful towards Jay Horwitz or anybody in general,'' Syndergaard said.
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