Mets’ Noah Syndergaard pulled from rehab start with sore elbow

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NEW YORK — Noah Syndergaard was pulled from his minor league rehabilitation outing because of soreness in his pitching elbow, and third baseman J.D. Davis returned to New York for more treatment in the latest setbacks for a first-place Mets team riddled with injuries.

Syndergaard is coming back from Tommy John surgery on March 26 last year. He threw four shutout innings with five strikeouts last Wednesday for Class A St. Lucie but lasted only one inning in his second start with the team.

“No one’s overly concerned,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said, calling Syndergaard’s issue more like discomfort. “It just didn’t feel right.”

The Mets said Syndergaard was removed as a precaution. The hard-throwing right-hander had been on track for a mid-June return, but suddenly that appears uncertain at best.

“A speed bump on the road,” Rojas said after his team’s 3-1 win over Colorado.

The 28-year-old Syndergaard, an All-Star in 2016, is 47-30 with a 3.31 ERA in five major league seasons. He can become a free agent in the fall.

“Let’s see what comes out of it,” Rojas said. “We’ll reassess what the plan is after we find out what’s going on in there.”

Davis has been out since May 1 with a sprained left hand. He was on a rehab assignment at Triple-A Syracuse, where he was expected to play at least three more games – including one at first base – before rejoining the Mets.

But he took swings and grounders on a day off Monday and felt discomfort. So he returned to New York and an MRI showed inflammation in Davis’ joints, Rojas said.

“This is not a re-injury,” the manager said.

Davis was 2 for 11 with one home run since starting at Syracuse on May 18. He is receiving treatment on his hand from the health and performance staff as the club determines the next step.

“He’ll be here for the next couple days or so,” Rojas said.

New York has 16 players on the injured list, most in the majors, and is missing three of its top five starting pitchers in Syndergaard, Carlos Carrasco and Taijuan Walker.

Rookie center fielder Johneshwy Fargas is expected to be added to the IL on Wednesday. Fargas sprained the AC joint in his left shoulder when he crashed into the outfield wall trying to make a catch Monday night. His left arm was in a sling Tuesday afternoon.

“I feel good. A little bit sore,” Fargas said. “I’ve been crashing into the wall a lot, but this is the first time the wall beat me.”

Rojas said he doesn’t think surgery is required at this point, but Fargas is “not going to be able to do anything for some time.”

The team is down to its fifth-string center fielder in recently acquired veteran Cameron Maybin, who is 0 for 21 since joining the Mets. Desperate for reinforcements, they obtained outfielder Billy McKinney late Tuesday night in a trade with the Milwaukee Brewers for minor league left-hander Pedro Quintana.

“A lot of them have been strange injuries,” New York ace Jacob deGrom said.

DeGrom returned Tuesday from the IL and started against the Rockies. He threw 63 pitches, allowing one run in five innings while striking out nine.

The two-time Cy Young Award winner had been sidelined since May 9 by tightness in his right side. He struck out eight and walked none in three hitless innings during a rehab outing for St. Lucie in the Low-A Southeast League last Thursday.

“To get Jake today I know is huge for everyone,” Rojas said before the game. “Definitely uplifting.”

Carrasco, out with a strained right hamstring, isn’t expected back until late June or early July.

Walker has been out since May 18 due to tightness in his right side. He threw live batting practice to two hitters Tuesday and Rojas said it was “very encouraging.”

Rojas said Walker didn’t feel anything similar to when he went on the 10-day IL. He is scheduled to play catch Wednesday and throw a “touch and feel” on Thursday.

Rojas said he doesn’t expect Walker to need a rehab start before returning to the rotation.

Right-hander Jordan Yamamoto, another depth piece, was placed on the 10-day injured list Tuesday, retroactive to Monday, with right shoulder soreness. After the game, he was quickly transferred to the 60-day IL to make room for McKinney on the 40-man roster.

Despite all the injuries, the Mets lead the tightly contested NL East at 22-20.

Biden praises Braves’ ‘unstoppable, joyful run’ to 2021 win

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said the Atlanta Braves will be “forever known as the upset kings of October” for their improbable 2021 World Series win, as he welcomed the team to the White House for a victory celebration.

Biden called the Braves’ drive an “unstoppable, joyful run.” The team got its White House visit in with just over a week left before the 2022 regular season wraps up and the Major League Baseball playoffs begin again. The Braves trail the New York Mets by 1.5 games in the National League East but have clinched a wildcard spot for the MLB playoffs that begin Oct. 7. Chief Executive Officer Terry McGuirk said he hoped they’d be back to the White House again soon.

In August 2021, the Braves were a mess, playing barely at .500. But then they started winning. And they kept it up, taking the World Series in six games over the Houston Astros.

Biden called their performance of “history’s greatest turnarounds.”

“This team has literally been part of American history for over 150 years,” said Biden. “But none of it came easy … people counting you out. Heck, I know something about being counted out.”

Players lined up on risers behind Biden, grinning and waving to the crowd, but the player most discussed was one who hasn’t been on the team in nearly 50 years and who died last year: Hall of Famer Hank Aaron.

Hammerin’ Hank was the home run king for 33 years, dethroning Babe Ruth with a shot to left field on April 8, 1974. He was one of the most famous players for Atlanta and in baseball history, a clear-eyed chronicler of the hardships thrown his way – from the poverty and segregation of his Alabama youth to the racist threats he faced during his pursuit of one of America’s most hallowed records. He died in January at 86.

“This is team is defined by the courage of Hank Aaron,” Biden said.

McGuirk said Aaron, who held front office positions with the team and was one of Major League Baseball’s few Black executives, was watching over them.

“He’d have been there every step of the way with us if he was here,” McGuirk added.

The president often honors major league and some college sports champions with a White House ceremony, typically a nonpartisan affair in which the commander in chief pays tribute to the champs’ prowess, poses for photos and comes away with a team jersey.

Those visits were highly charged in the previous administration. Many athletes took issue with President Donald Trump’s policies and rhetoric on policing, immigration and more. Trump, for his part, didn’t take kindly to criticism from athletes or their on-field expressions of political opinions.

Under Biden, the tradition appears to be back. He’s hosted the NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks and Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the White House. On Monday he joked about first lady Jill Biden’s Philadelphia allegiances.

“Like every Philly fan, she’s convinced she knows more about everything in sports than anybody else,” he said. He added that he couldn’t be too nice to the Atlanta team because it had just beaten the Phillies the previous night in extra innings.

Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was later questioned about the team’s name, particularly as other professional sports teams have moved away from names – like the Cleveland Indians, now the Guardians, and the Washington Redskins, now the Commanders – following years of complaints from Native American groups over the images and symbols.

She said it was important for the country to have the conversation. “And Native American and Indigenous voices – they should be at the center of this conversation,” she said.

Biden supported MLB’s decision to pull the 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta to protest Georgia’s sweeping new voting law, which critics contend is too restrictive.