NEW YORK- Noah Syndergaard did not disappoint in his long-awaited return to the mound on Tuesday evening.
Despite last pitching in the majors on September 29, 2019, Syndergaard took the bump for the first time in just under two-years tonight, and was impressive.
After undergoing Tommy John surgery in March of 2020, Syndergaard served as the opener in the nightcap of the Mets-Marlins doubleheader.
And he looked sharp, working a scoreless 1-2-3 first inning on 10-pitches [nine strikes]. He also struck out the first two batters he faced in Miguel Rojas and Jazz Chisholm Jr, before capping off his lone frame by inducing a groundout.
With the 29-year-old set to become a free agent after the season, he made it clear that he does not want to leave New York, or the Mets, the organization he has spent the entirety of his big-league career with since making his debut in May of 2015.
"I'm fairly confident that we will reach an agreement and I'll be pitching here next year," said Syndergaard. "New York has a special place in my heart."
If the Mets choose to retain Syndergaard this winter, he could potentially revert back to a top of the line starter in the rotation, if healthy. Especially if he has all five of his pitches back.
After the game, Syndergaard confirmed that he will be throwing his slider and curveball again next season.
The Mets can extend him a one-year qualifying offer in the offseason, which Syndergaard said he would be "grateful for" if it happens.
And although he may never get back to the top of the rotation starter he once was, Syndergaard's talent gives the Mets enough reason to keep him around for at least another year to see what he can do across a full season. And he certainly wants to be here.
On a dark day where the Mets officially announced deGrom (UCL sprain/partial tear in his right elbow) would be shutdown for the remainder of the season, Syndergaard stepped up to provide a glimmer of light.
The right-hander came out firing bullets for the Mets, with his four-seam fastball consistently hitting 96-mph on the radar gun. He also showed off an impressive sinker that touched between 89-90-mph.
This comes as a bit of a surprise, given the fact that Syndergaard's velocity had been hovering in the low-90's throughout his live bullpen sessions, as well as on his rehab assignment.
And on what was an emotional night for him due to what he went through to get back here, Syndergaard exited to a loud ovation from the Citi Field crowd, who have longed for his return to the Mets for quite some time.
"When I was walking out of the dugout hearing the fans, I almost shed a tear," said Syndergaard. "I'm not an emotional guy but it got to me."
While he was only allowed to go just the one inning, seeing Syndergaard back on the mound in Queens felt right. And for a moment, it was almost as if he had never left.
Later on, the Mets wound up delivering for him on his special night, walking it off on James McCann's dribbler in extras to sweep the doubleheader from the Marlins.
According to Syndergaard, the plan is for him to make one more appearance this season, before he is forced to look ahead to his looming contract situation.