Jul 23, 2017 4:02 PM GMT
NYT: Noah Syndergaard is devising a new training strategy. The previous one emphasized packing more muscle onto the solid 6-foot-6 frame that had helped him earn the nickname Thor, and throttling up pitches that had already made him the hardest-throwing starter in the major leagues.
“I’m always going to try to raise that kind of bar,” he said when he showed up at spring training this year looking stronger than ever.
But Syndergaard, 24, has not appeared in a game since April 30. Instead, he has spent almost three months on the Mets’ disabled list, tending to a partly torn latissimus muscle on his right side and trying to figure out what went wrong. He initially rejected suggestions that his ambitious off-season weight training might have been counterproductive for a pitcher, that a better regimen would have focused on improving his fluidity of motion rather than building brute force.
During his time on the disabled list, Syndergaard has made some adjustments to his workouts and has come to realize that he had not been training effectively. Sitting in the dugout at Citi Field before Friday’s game against the Oakland Athletics, Syndergaard acknowledged that he was “maybe too bulky and wiry, and not in the right areas,” earlier in the season.
“So much of what I’ve learned this year,” he said, “is that I thought I was doing what I needed to be doing. But I realize now how messed up my body was, and I’m working hard to get it back to normal.”
Very early this season, Syndergaard developed a sore right biceps but turned down the Mets’ request for him to undergo a magnetic resonance imaging test. A few days later, in his fifth start, he suffered the muscle tear that has kept him idle. His absence has been felt throughout this disappointing Mets season.
Syndergaard said he would not stop lifting weights, because he needs the strength to endure a six-month season.
“But you have to be smart about it,” he said. “I don’t think necessarily this off-season I lifted the smartest weights. I want to go to the weight room and feel taxed. Sometimes I’d leave the weight room not feeling that, so I’d do a little extra stuff.”
And that extra was too much? “Probably,” he said.