Noah Syndergaard, Francisco Lindor face off in simulated game


SAN FRANCISCO — Noah Syndergaard and Francisco Lindor’s respective rehabs took another step forward Tuesday when they participated in a simulated game. 

For Syndergaard it was the first time facing batters since his shutdown in late May with elbow discomfort. Lindor, on the comeback from a right oblique strain, took swings against high velocity for the first time since his IL stint began. Luis Guillorme, who is rehabbing from a left hamstring strain, also participated in the game. 

Syndergaard, according to manager Luis Rojas, kept his fastball in the mid-90 mph range. 

“He was more so worried about the movement,” Rojas said, noting that the right-hander threw about 20 pitches. 

The expectation is Syndergaard, who is returning from 2020 Tommy John surgery, will throw at least one additional live batting practice before he is evaluated for a potential minor league rehab assignment with an eye toward joining the Mets in September, perhaps as a reliever. 

Noah Syndergaard and Francisco Lindor.
Corey Sipkin; Robert Sabo

Lindor, according to Rojas, could be precluded from a minor league assignment by continuing to take at-bats in simulated-game settings. 

“It could happen,” Rojas said. “We simulated a lot of things today and the pitches that he saw and the swings that he took in the live BP … it’s even more than going through a rehab assignment. Let’s see how he keeps progressing, but today was a real good day.” 

Javier Baez took grounders in the infield for the first time since he was placed on the IL last week with back spasms. 

James McCann was scratched from the starting lineup with back spasms, putting Patrick Mazeika behind the plate. A day earlier the Mets placed catcher Tomas Nido on the IL with a thumb sprain.

Kevin Pillar started in left field — putting Dominic Smith on the bench — because Rojas liked the matchup against Giants right-hander Logan Webb. 

Jonathan Villar entered play with at least one hit in nine of his last 11 games. Over that stretch he was batting .350 with four homers and eight RBIs and a 1.031 OPS. 

Brandon Drury began play leading the major leagues with a .478 (11-for-23) average as a pinch hitter this season. He is the first Mets player with at least 10 hits as a pinch hitter in a season since Alejandro De Aza in 2016. Drury also began play with three pinch-hit homers this season, the most by a Mets player since Kelly Johnson in 2016.

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