Noah Syndergaard made his long-awaited 2021 season debut in the second game of Tuesday’s doubleheader against the Miami Marlins, and he did not disappoint in his lone inning of work.
Featuring mainly fastballs with a changeup mixed in, Syndergaard threw a perfect first inning against the Marlins, striking out two in his return to the mound at Citi Field.
Syndergaard got things started with a strikeout of Miguel Rojas, throwing all fastballs and putting him away with a 96 mph high heater.
Next up, Syndergaard needed just four pitches to strike out Jazz Chisolm Jr., using a changeup to put him away.
He then got Bryan De La Cruz to ground out to third, as he needed just 10 pitches (nine strikes) to get through his only inning of work.
After the game, Syndergaard was very candid about his emotions coming into the night, saying that his uncertain future with the Mets was a big reason why.
"When I was walking out of the dugout, hearing the fans, I almost shed a little tear," he said. "I’m not really an emotional guy, but it got to me."
"It definitely has (entered my mind)," he answered when asked about this potentially being his last season with the Mets. "That was another reason why I was pretty emotional tonight. But I’m fairly confident that we’ll reach an agreement and I’ll be pitching here next year. I’d love nothing more than that. New York has a special place in my heart and always will be."
Syndergaard is set to be free agent come season's end, but the 29-year sounded optimistic that a return to the Mets could be in the cards, even if it's on a one-year qualifying offer.
"It would be something I’d be extremely grateful for," Syndergaard said of a potential qualifying offer. "We’ll cross that bridge when we get there. It’s definitely something I’m hoping for."
Syndergaard was on a major league mound for the first time since his Tommy John surgery in March 2020. So even though the Mets have already been eliminated from playoff contention, it meant the world to him to take the mound again this season.
"I felt great," he said. "Just kind of knocked the rust off and get my feet underneath me and have a clean inning, but it felt amazing to get back out there, feel the rush of the Mets faithful and to step on that mound another time.
"It was definitely a crazy journey. It was like Murphy’s Law, anything that could have happened did happen. I had my setback back in late May, and then, of course, I caught COVID right as I was coming back. It just seemed like things were up against me, that I wasn’t going to make it back this year. So, just to be able to get back out there and compete, even though it was just one inning, felt amazing."
Syndergaard said he believes the plan is for him to make one more appearance this season, though he's not sure of exactly when that will come.