Viral illness sends Mets RHP Syndergaard to DL
NEW YORK — Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard is going on the 10-day disabled list after recently exhibiting symptoms of hand, foot and mouth disease, a viral illness that normally affects children younger than 5 years old.
As bizarre as the injury is, team officials don’t believe the DL stint will last long. Scheduled now to miss his next start Wednesday, Syndergaard could be back for his following turn in the rotation.
“Sounds like once the blisters and everything — or whatever he’s got going on on his hands — clears up, he’s going to be fine,” Mets manager Mickey Callaway said Sunday.
Corey Oswalt will make Wednesday’s start against the San Diego Padres in Syndergaard’s place.
Syndergaard, the right-handed flamethrower known to top 100 mph, was taken out of his start Friday night after just five innings. He was removed after demonstrating a noticeable drop in his velocity with his four-seam fastball and sinker.
After beginning the game with a 97.7 mph fastball, that same pitch was consistently around 95 mph in his later innings, according to Statcast. Syndergaard’s sinker went from 98.1 mph in the first inning to hovering around 93 and 94 mph by the fourth and fifth innings.
Callaway said the disease had “everything” to do with that decrease in velocity.
“During the game, he didn’t quite figure it out. He knew he had trouble breathing,” Callaway said. “I put my hands on his legs to talk to him when he came out and said, ‘Hey, man. Is everything OK?’ And I felt his leg shaking. So he was just weak and run-down, and I think the virus just took its toll.”
The manager said the team first suspected some deeper issue when Syndergaard started noticing splotches and blisters on his hands just after he exited Friday’s 7-5 win over the New York Yankees.
Callaway suspects Syndergaard contracted the illness while hosting a baseball camp for kids in New Jersey the day before the start.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, hand, foot and mouth disease can spread when people who have it cough or sneeze. People can also become infected if they come into contact with an infected person’s blister fluid. Symptoms include fever, mouth sores and a skin rash.
“We sent him home right away when we figured out what it was,” Callaway said. “Nobody’s shown any symptoms yet. We’re trying to make sure they wash their hands and do all that a couple days ago. Some people didn’t come into contact with him that day.”
With this latest Mets injury coming just after the drama surrounding Yoenis Cespedes‘ heels, in addition to other unfortunate and untimely happenings, the discovery of Syndergaard’s unique illness initially had Mets coaches shaking their heads.
“We did that a little bit like, ‘Hand, foot and mouth?'” Callaway said. “But yeah, it’s kind of odd. Maybe the first DL stint in major league baseball with hand, foot and mouth? Maybe a record or something.”