ATLANTA (AP) — On another day of injuries in another season filled with them, the New York Mets were trying to put their finger on the latest problem.
A pair of finger injuries sent Noah Syndergaard to the disabled list and knocked Steven Matz out of his start against the Atlanta Braves after just three innings Tuesday.
Syndergaard was placed on the 10-day DL before the game with a sore right index finger, though the Mets are hopeful the right-hander will only miss one start.
Then, in an almost surreal development for the injury-plagued team, Matz exited with discomfort in the middle finger of his left hand. Leading 4-0, he went out to warm up for the fourth inning but suddenly stopped throwing and began looking at his pitching hand.
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New York manager Mickey Callaway and a trainer popped out of the dugout to examine Matz. The pitcher flexed the finger a bit before heading slowly to the dugout, his night over after just 42 pitches. He allowed only one hit, walked two and struck out two.
Three New York players have gone on the DL since the team arrived in Atlanta. Relief pitcher AJ Ramos (right shoulder strain) and infielder Wilmer Flores (sore lower back) were sidelined before Monday’s doubleheader.
In all, the Mets have 11 players on the DL, including reliever Anthony Swarzak and three projected regulars in slugger Yoenis Cespedes, third baseman Todd Frazier and catcher Travis d’Arnaud.
Swarzak and Frazier have reported to Triple-A Las Vegas to continue their rehabilitation. Swarzak struck out two in a scoreless inning Tuesday and got the win for the 51s.
X-rays on Matz’s finger were negative, but the team had no further details on the discomfort and whether it might affect his next scheduled start. The left-hander is 2-3 with a 3.55 ERA.
Syndergaard’s injury was another unexpected development.
After traveling with the team to Atlanta, he returned to New York on Tuesday to be examined at The Hospital for Special Surgery.
An MRI and examination confirmed a strained ligament.
Callaway said the injury is not considered serious. If all goes according to plan, Syndergaard would throw a bullpen this weekend and return to the rotation next week.
Syndergaard was scheduled to pitch Wednesday in the series finale against the Braves. Jason Vargas is moving up to make the start on just three days of rest after lasting only three innings in his last appearance at Milwaukee on Saturday.
Vargas is 1-3 with a 10.62 ERA in five starts this season. He has given up 34 hits, including six homers, and walked 10 in 20 1/3 innings.
Syndergaard is 4-1 with a 3.06 ERA and 76 strikeouts in 64 2/3 innings as one of the Mets’ aces, along with Jacob deGrom. Syndergaard last pitched Friday night in a loss at Milwaukee, receiving no decision after allowing three runs in six innings.
Right-hander Gerson Bautista, called up from Triple-A Las Vegas to serve as an extra player for the doubleheader, remained with the team in the bullpen Tuesday.
Syndergaard missed 4 1/2 months last season with a partial tear of his right lat muscle.
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