Posted on July 9, 2016 by Bryan Zarpentine

New York Mets Noah Syndergaard

Image via usatoday.com

It appears to be deja vu for the New York Mets all over again. A little more than two weeks ago, the Mets held their breath while both Noah Syndergaard and Yoenis Cespedes, arguably the team’s two most important players, were dispatched to the hospital to investigate possible injuries. Both were proclaimed well enough to continue with the season, but concern for the health of each player has resurfaced after both were forced to leave Friday’s loss to the Washington Nationals prematurely. The early exits came on the same day the team announced that Matt Harvey would soon undergo season-ending surgery on his shoulder.

Cespedes left Friday’s game after three innings with what the team is calling strained quadriceps. The outfielder said he pulled the muscle while fielding a double hit by former Met Daniel Murphy. “Hopefully it doesn’t translate into me going on the 15-day DL,” Cespedes said through a translator after the game. He also told reporters that he had a similar injury during spring training in 2015 when he was still with the Detroit Tigers, and said he only missed four or five days.

A four or five day absence would keep him out of important games Saturday and Sunday against the Nationals, as well as Tuesday’s All-Star Game, but it would put him back on the field when the second half begins next week. However, manager Terry Collins appeared more cautious than Cespedes, saying, “When you’ve got strains, that’s an issue, especially when you’re as strong as he is.” The Mets are likely to play shorthanded for the next two games and then evaluate Cespedes after the all-star break to see if the injury warrants a trip to the DL.

Meanwhile, Syndergaard left in the 5th inning due to what the team is calling arm fatigue. For much of his outing, Syndergaard was throwing with his usual velocity, consistently approaching triple digits on the radar gun. However, his fastball velocity suddenly dropped in his final inning of work, registering as low as 91 mph.

“I think it’s just that time of the year — my first full season in the big leagues,” Syndergaard explained after the game. “I’ve thrown a lot of pitches. I’ve thrown a lot of innings so far. I just think it’s a little bit of fatigue. There’s no pain. There’s no discomfort in my elbow regarding the spur. I felt like I could still go out there and pitch through that. It really boils down to a little shoulder fatigue.”

Syndergaard is currently pitching with a bone spur in his elbow, but says that is not a factor. He insists he does not need to have an MRI, saying, “I’ve had two MRIs so far [this season], and all of them have come back with a very healthy ligament.” Collins said after the game that Syndergaard will not pitch in Tuesday’s All-Star Game.

After Friday’s loss, Collins lamented the barrage of injuries and injury scares the Mets have endured recently. “I guess it’s part of the game,” Collins said. “I’ve never had it in such mass before to where every day it’s hard to walk into this room because the conversation is about who got hurt tonight. As you guys know, I’m a little tired of talking about it. It’s my job to talk about it. But I’m running out of things to say. And we’re running out of bodies.”

At the time, there’s no reason for the Mets to assume that Syndergaard and Cespedes won’t be available when the second half begins next week, but the constant concern over the health of key players must be frustrating for the team and its fans. Collins says there’s nothing to do but stay the course. “We’re just going to have to keep going. I’ve told you before: No one in baseball feels sorry for us. And so we’ll just have to suck it up and come in tomorrow and get ready to play with the bodies we have available.”

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