Transformed Syndergaard is here with threats: I can throw harder

Mike Puma

New York Post

12th February 2017

PORT ST. LUCIE — Bill Gates could use a few more dollars, too. But here was Noah Syndergaard reporting to spring training on Sunday for the Mets, stating there is room for improvement within his assortment of heat.

“I always want to throw harder and continue to make the game easier,” said Syndergaard, whose average on his fastball was tops in the major leagues last year. “I feel like last year from my rookie season, my velocity jumped up, so I’m always going to try to raise that kind of bar, and hopefully it allows me to go deeper into games with more ease. “But also focus on paying a lot of attention to maintaining my flexibility because pitching is not max effort: It’s all about being fluid and having flexibility out there.

” In hopes of getting those results, Syndergaard spent much of the offseason working out near home in Frisco, Texas, and indicated he added about 17 pounds of muscle. Thor has been transformed into the Incredible Hulk. “He is a beast,” said former Mets pitcher LaTroy Hawkins, who worked out with Syndergaard and roughly a dozen other players for much of the winter at Exos, a fitness performance center.

The two played catch on Friday before going their respective ways — Hawkins recently was named a special assistant in the Twins organization — and it was quickly evident to the former reliever that Syndergaard is everything he had heard about. “All we did was play catch and I could tell what he had,” Hawkins said. “It’s heavy, explosive, it’s easy.

It’s not like he’s a guy, so that was pretty cool. I played catch with Thor, and now I have a complete understanding of what makes him special. ” The Mets will take more of the Syndergaard who emerged as the staff ace last season, going with a 2.

60 ERA and 1. 149 WHIP in 31 appearances, escaping the season without needing surgery — a huge accomplishment given that Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz weren’t so fortunate. Harvey, who underwent surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome, played catch Sunday, and Matz (who is coming off surgery to remove a bone spur) also had a short throwing session.

The first official workout for pitchers and catchers is Tuesday. Though Syndergaard was diagnosed with a small bone spur in his elbow early in the season, it was deemed insignificant enough to warrant removal, even over the winter. “The last two months or three months of the season I didn’t have any problem with it,” Syndergaard said.

The stud righty is slated to take the ball for Opening Day on April 3 at Citi Field against the Braves, but said he isn’t ready to declare himself the ace of the staff. “I think we have five aces on the team,” he said. Pitching in a rotation that includes so much talent could be enough to satisfy Syndergaard’s ego.

“I just try to embrace it as much as possible,” he said. “It’s really a blessing playing in the greatest city, so I really couldn’t be more thankful for that. ” And Syndergaard has a new admirer in Hawkins.

“He works hard,” Hawkins said. “He’s in there getting [his workout] in, takes his time and makes sure everything has to be right. If something isn’t right, do it again.

He pays attention to the details. “I already liked him before I met him. Now meeting him and hanging out with him in the gym, I was very impressed with him.

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