Frank Franklin II/Associated Press
New York Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard is headed to the disabled list after contracting hand, foot and mouth disease, according to James Wagner of the New York Times.
Mets manager John Ricco only expects Syndergaard to miss one start, per Wagner.
The Mayo Clinic defines the disease as a contagious viral infection that “is characterized by sores in the mouth and a rash on the hands and feet” and is common in children. Wagner notes the team believes the pitcher contracted it while working at a youth camp during the All-Star break.
Injuries have plagued the right-hander over the last two seasons. He was limited to just seven starts in 2017 because of a torn muscle in his torso. This year, he made it about two months before running into problems, as a strained ligament in his finger sidelined him for more than a month.
Of course, Syndergaard is hardly the only Met to be hit by the injury bug. Jay Bruce, Todd Frazier and Yoenis Cespedes are all among the New York players who have been hampered by various ailments this season.
Regardless of how the team’s offense of doing, New York has a chance to contend as long as Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom are healthy.
Syndergaard posted a 3.24 ERA in 24 starts as a rookie in 2015 and has had sub-3.00 ERAs in each of the past two seasons. In 2018, the 25-year-old is 6-1 with a 2.89 ERA, a 1.25 WHIP and 83 strikeouts in 74.2 innings.
As good as he has been to start his career, Syndergaard can’t help his team if he isn’t available to take the ball every fifth day. Injuries happen in baseball, but with a caliber of pitcher like Thor, playing without him for an extended period of time can derail a season.
Without Syndergaard, deGrom and Steven Matz will face pressure to carry the rotation. Not only that, but Zack Wheeler will need to regain his pre-Tommy John 2014 form (3.54 ERA in 32 starts), while Jason Vargas will now have to show why the Mets gave him a two-year, $16 million deal in the offseason.
New York currently sits at 40-56 and in last place in the National League East. If Syndergaard is out for an extended period of time, climbing out of the cellar won’t be easy.