Noah Syndergaard threw a pitch so hard he branded catcher Kevin Plawecki

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Mets starter Noah Syndergaard routinely hit 100-plus MPH with his fastball — as usual — during Monday’s start against the Phillies, a 5-2 victory. Even as he got into the seventh inning, Syndergaard was still sitting in the high 90’s.

By now, we’re familiar with the numbers on Syndergaard’s velocity, but what about the visual evidence. SNY’s Steve Gelbs snapped a photo of catcher Kevin Plawecki‘s chest, which was branded with an imprint of his necklace. That happened when Plawecki blocked one of Syndergaard’s pitches in the dirt, as it bounced up and hit him in his chest protector.

Syndergaard went seven innings against the Phillies on Monday night, yielding jus tone run on five hits and a pair of walks with eight strikeouts. He now has a 0.90 ERA with a 29/4 K/BB ratio over 20 innings in his first three starts of the season.

Colin Poche, Rays go to arbitration just $125,000 apart

Colin Poche torn UCL
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Reliever Colin Poche went to salary arbitration with the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday with the sides just $125,000 apart.

The gap between the $1.3 million the pitcher asked for and the $1,175,000 the team offered was the smallest among the 33 players who exchanged proposed arbitration figures last month. The case was heard by John Woods, Jeanne Vonhof and Walt De Treux, who will hold their decision until later this month.

A 29-year-old left-hander, Poche had Tommy John surgery on July 29, 2020, and returned to the major leagues last April 22 after six appearances at Triple-A Durham. Poche was 4-2 with a 3.99 ERA and seven saves in 65 relief appearances for the Rays. He struck out 64 and walked 22 in 58 2/3 innings.

Poche had a $707,800 salary last year.

Tampa Bay went to arbitration on Monday with reliever Ryan Thompson, whose decision also is being held until later this month. He asked for $1.2 million and the Rays argued for $1 million.

Rays right-hander Jason Adam and outfielder Harold Ramirez remain scheduled for hearings.

Players and teams have split four decisions thus far. All-Star pitcher Max Fried ($13.5 million) lost to Atlanta and reliever Diego Castillo ($2.95 million) was defeated by Seattle, while pitcher Jesus Luzardo ($2.45 million) and AL batting champion Luis Arraez ($6.1 million) both beat the Marlins.

A decision also is pending for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Hunter Renfroe.

Eighteen additional players are eligible for arbitration and hearings are scheduled through Feb. 17. Among the eligible players is Seattle utilityman Dylan Moore, who has a pending three-year contract worth $8,875,000.