New York Mets right-hander Noah Syndergaard has a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow and will undergo Tommy John surgery this week, the team announced Tuesday.
Dr. David Altchek will perform the surgery Thursday at the Hospital for Special Surgery, according to the Mets.
“After experiencing discomfort in his elbow before spring training was suspended due to the pandemic, Noah and our health and performance department have been in constant contact,” Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen said in a statement. “Based on the persistence of his symptoms, Noah underwent a physical examination and MRI that revealed the ligament tear. A second opinion from Dr. Neal ElAttrache confirmed the diagnosis and the recommendation for surgery.
“Noah is an incredibly hard worker and a tremendous talent. While this is unfortunate, we have no doubt that Noah will be able to return to full strength and continue to be an integral part of our championship pursuits in the future.”
Syndergaard, 27, who is one of the hardest-throwing starting pitchers in baseball history and has among the best arsenal of pitches in the game, was expected to anchor the Mets’ rotation alongside ace Jacob deGrom.
Syndergaard threw a career-high 197⅔ innings last season, and while his ERA was a career-worst 4.28, the combination of good health and stuff foretold good things.
The health end did not hold up, and Syndergaard will be sidelined until April 2021 at the earliest — and more likely until the early summer. He is the second high-profile pitcher to need Tommy John surgery in recent days, with Boston Red Sox ace Chris Sale also confirming he would undergo the elbow reconstruction surgery.
Syndergaard, acquired by the Mets in 2012 when they traded Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey to Toronto, was an instant phenom. His fastball consistently hit 100 mph, he ripped off sliders as fast as 93 mph, and he struck out 166 batters in 150 innings as a 22-year-old rookie in 2015. His best year came in 2016, when he was an All-Star and posted a 2.60 ERA in 183⅔ innings.
Injuries wiped out most of Syndergaard’s 2017 season and shortened his 2018. He planned to join deGrom and Marcus Stroman atop the Mets’ rotation, with Steven Matz, Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha filling out the last two spots.
With baseball sidelined until at least May because of the coronavirus outbreak, the Mets now won’t have to choose among the final three for a rotation spot. Their prospects for 2020, which were bright during a strong spring, got that much more difficult in a National League East with the defending World Series champion Washington Nationals, defending division winner Atlanta Braves and a Philadelphia Phillies team with playoff aspirations.