LOS ANGELES – Noah Syndergaard is expected to start a minor league rehab mission this week, said two people familiar with the process, a notable step forward in his return from a nearly two-year absence from pitching in a game that account.
His next stop will likely be another live batting practice, which he has done twice already, most recently on Saturday. If he continues to feel good after that – and all the signs have been positive lately – the idea is that he is getting into a real game with an affiliate.
The Mets have scheduled an early September debut for Syndergaard, which they could use out of the relieving box so he can join the team sooner. Extending it as a starter would take weeks; Deploying it as a reliever would mean a much shorter rehabilitation mission.
Among the items still on Syndergaard’s to-do list: throwing broken balls – so far it’s been limited to fastballs and changes, a standard part of Tommy John’s return process – and probably throwing several rounds.
Unavailable since March 2020 after suffering a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, Syndergaard was due in June, but an inflammation of the elbow in May delayed it. He will be a free agent after this season.
The Mets want to be “extremely careful” with Francisco Lindor, manager Luis Rojas said, so they left him on the injured list on Sunday but plan to activate him “early this week”. The Mets will open a homestand on Tuesday when they face the Giants.
Lindor missed more than five weeks with a tight right oblique.
Jeff McNeil played left field for the first time this season in the Mets’ 7-2 win over the Dodgers. Rojas has indicated that he will be splitting his time there with Dominic Smith once Lindor and Javier Baez become the new dual-play combo. . The Dodgers hit golf balls from home Sunday morning, targeting a person in catcher’s gear in mid-midfield. Cody Bellinger won after his ball entered the stands but ricocheted off the pitch and rolled straight towards the target. “I can use a panel with the best of them!” ” He shouted . . . On Lakers day at Dodger Stadium, Russell Westbrook threw the first pitch. . . The Mets selected right-hander Geoff Hartlieb for the Triple-A Syracuse.