PORT ST. LUCIE — Noah Syndergaard turned WBC into an acronym for “Won’t Be Coming. ” And the decision never was complicated.
The Mets ace will watch several teammates depart for the World Baseball Classic within the next two weeks, sure he made the right choice to decline an invite from Team USA. “It was a decision,” Syndergaard said Wednesday. “My heart and desire is with the New York Mets and competing with them and striving for a world championship ring.
I wasn’t interested. ” The Mets will send nine players from their roster to the tournament — the most of any team in the major leagues. Syndergaard was the only marquee Mets starting pitcher selected — after a season in which Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz all underwent surgery.
Syndergaard went with a 2. 60 ERA in 31 appearances for the Mets last season and would have bolstered a Team USA rotation that is expected to include Chris Archer, Marcus Stroman and Tanner Roark. “I am not going to risk injury competing in that,” Syndergaard said.
“Especially since I threw over 200 innings in 2015 and 2016, so I needed to give my arm a good substantial break. ” Would Syndergaard consider participating in the WBC in the future? “We’ll see where my goes,” Syndergaard said. “If I’m well into my 30s, I might.
” Jeurys Familia (Dominican Republic) Jose Reyes (D. R.) Hansel Robles (D.
R.) Seth Lugo (Puerto Rico) T. J.
Rivera (Puerto Rico) Rene Rivera (Puerto Rico) Brandon Nimmo (Italy) Gavin Cecchini (Italy) and Fernando Salas (Mexico) are scheduled to represent the Mets in the WBC. In addition to those nine, camp invitee Ty Kelly (Israel) also will play in the event. Manager Terry Collins indicated Syndergaard doesn’t need the extra workload.
“I think he is doing the right thing,” Collins said. “He is coming off a pretty intense year. I know his goal is to get ready for the season, and I think down the road there will be another WBC that he will be able to pitch in if he wants.
“We have been talking about it since the end of last season, about health, and he was not going to sacrifice anything to getting in the way to get ready for the year. ” As easy as it was for Syndergaard to decline his invitation, Familia considered it a to accept a roster spot for the Dominican Republic. “It is the first time for me and the first time representing my country,” Familia said.
“It is special for me to represent my family and my country. I am getting an opportunity to play with all the stars from the Dominican. ” Familia is facing a likely suspension following his arrest last offseason on domestic violence charges, but team officials would be surprised if MLB renders any punishment before the WBC concludes.
Collins said there is little concern on his part that any of the pitchers will be overused in the tournament. Already, he and his staff have been communicating with various WBC team officials. Mets bullpen coach Ricky Bones will serve as the pitching coach for Puerto Rico, uniting him with Lugo in the tournament.
“They are even being real careful now with pitch counts, even with [relievers],” Collins said. “That is a little different than it has been in the past. I know MLB is working hard to make sure the health of these guys that are on that team is first and foremost.
” Syndergaard said he understands why players would want to participate in the WBC. “But that is their opinion and their decision,” he said. “And I don’t really care what their decision is.