The Mets enjoyed a solid Opening Day win today on the back of a strong performance from starter Noah Syndergaard. But there are some new health concerns for the team’s pitching staff — though their gravity isn’t yet clear.
Syndergaard himself departed after six innings with a blister, as Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News writes. It’s not expected to be a major issue, but the team is looking to get out ahead of things by giving him an added day of rest. Blisters can turn into significant injuries, to be sure, but there’s no reason at this point to think it’s more than a minor issue to be managed.
There’s more worry with lefty Steven Matz, who is already on the DL with elbow inflammation. The team’s position remains that he has been cleared of structural damage, as Marc Carig of Newsday reports, but Matz provided further information on the issue. He says that he has been diagnosed with a flexor tendon strain, which would seem to be a distinct injury from the bone chips that he had surgically removed over the offseason. Regardless, his timeline will surely be dictated by how he feels and what kind of progress the doctors observe, but the news adds to the 25-year-old’s growing list of arm ailments in his young career.
In theory, any such gaps in pitching coverage were to be covered by Seth Lugo, who filled in with aplomb last year. But as John Harper of the New York Daily News reports, manager Terry Collins hinted after today’s game that there may be some concern with Lugo’s status. “We lost Seth Lugo today for a period of time,” said Collins, who later added that “it’s going to be a couple of weeks, for sure,” before Lugo is able to return. There are no known details to this point, but clearly the Mets are anticipating that they won’t be able to use the 27-year-old for at least some fairly significant stretch.
In light of these new concerns, Collins stressed the need to maintain the health of the current five-man rotation, which explains the proactive move to get Syndergaard extra rest. As Harper notes, resurgent righty Rafael Montero — who’s currently operating out of the MLB bullpen — now seems to occupy a position of much greater importance than had been anticipated. If there’s a silver lining to this early test of the organization’s pitching depth, it’s that they had so much to begin with, so the current roster is still stocked with high-quality starters.