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Syndergaard happy he made it back on a mound last September

February 7, 2018

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) — Getting back on the mound late last season was important for Noah Syndergaard.

The New York Mets star went on the disabled list after tearing a lat muscle on April 30 in his fifth start, a 23-5 loss to Washington.

He made a pair of brief minor league appearances at the start of September, then had two short outings for New York in the season’s final 10 days, totaling three innings.

“You don’t want to go into the offseason in a rehab protocol. I worked so hard for four months that I felt I needed a little bit of a reward to go out there and have success and show that I can come back from a serious injury like that healthy,” he said Wednesday in his first appearance at pre-spring training workouts.

The 25-year-old right-hander is the ace of the rotation under new manager Mickey Callaway, who replaced Terry Collins. He heads a staff that includes Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler, a quintet that combined for just 86 starts last year.

“I think if the pitching stays healthy, it’ll be a very interesting season. Interesting in a good way, though,” Syndergaard said.

New York brought back Jay Bruce, who has traded last summer, retained infielder Jose Reyes and added third baseman Todd Frazier and reliever Anthony Swarzak.

“I think we’ve made some great acquisitions. We’re going to have a great lineup that’s a force to be reckoned with, a solid defense behind us and pitching staff that’s going to hold their own,” Syndergaard said.

Outfielder Brandon Nimmo said after the workout he expected to take fly balls at all three outfield positions, especially with Michael Conforto still recovering from shoulder surgery in September. With Yoenis Cespedes in left field and Bruce in right field, Nimmo is expected to share time with former Gold Glover Juan Lagares in center.

Nimmo was aware of the offseason trade rumors.

“It makes you feel that other teams recognize what you can do on the field and how you can help out at the major league level,” he said. “I felt good about what the Mets had to say to me at the end of the year last year, kind of as an exit meeting.”

Nimmo hit .260 with five homers and 21 RBIs in 69 games last season.

“I’m very confident in what I do — not cocky — but I have confidence in what I do and think I can help this team out a lot,” he said.

NOTES: deGrom, Lagares, Amed Rosario, Travis d’Arnaud and Wilmer Flores were among about 25 Mets at the first of three days of workouts ahead of the first formal spring training session on Feb. 14. ... Callaway and J.P. Ricciardi, a special assistant to general manager Sandy Alderson, threw batting practice.

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