Noah Syndergaard speculates workload is leading to elbow flare-ups

ATLANTA -- Noah Syndergaard rejoined the New York Mets on Thursday and declared himself fit to face the Washington Nationals on his normal turn.

Syndergaard departed Wednesday’s start against the Kansas City Royals after six innings due to discomfort in the back of his right elbow. The team dispatched him for an MRI, which they said revealed no structural damage. Syndergaard was prescribed anti-inflammatory medication.

“It was just a little thing I was feeling that wasn’t allowing me to finish my pitches and compete to the fullest ability that I’m able to compete at,” Syndergaard said. “So I just told them that, hey, something is bothering me a little bit. The MRI turned out to be perfect -- just a little something that flared up. I’ll be ready to go on Monday, though.”

Syndergaard said the issue was something that lasted his entire outing against Kansas City. He allowed three runs on eight hits in six innings in an eventual 4-3 win.

“I didn’t really feel comfortable the whole game,” Syndergaard said. “I think the first three innings were pretty decent. But toward the fourth inning and later on, I was just having a little bit of control issues. There were a couple of pitches … I was trying to throw it in one spot and it ended up being in another spot. So I was like, ‘Something is not feeling right.’ It was just a little something and turned out to be nothing.”

Syndergaard also was checked out by team doctors after a May 1 start against the San Francisco Giants. He continued in the rotation then with no disruption.

“I think it was basically the same thing,” Syndergaard said. “As far as the MRI goes, it was clean. … I’m glad I was able to get it, get a little peace of mind.”

Syndergaard has the highest average fastball velocity of any starting pitcher in the majors. Asked why he may be having the elbow flare-ups, Syndergaard said: “I guess you could say the workload. I’ve thrown quite a bit more pitches than I did last year at this time. I’m throwing harder than I did last year. It’s probably just basic wear and tear.”

He offered no regrets for volunteering Wednesday’s elbow difficulty to the staff.

“When I come to elbows, I really don’t like to screw around with those,” Syndergaard said. “If something is bothering you, I like to speak up and voice my opinion about it. It turned out to be nothing. I couldn’t be more thankful for that.”