Syndergaard scratched from start, optioned to Triple-A

Right-hander was hit on left ankle playing catch Thursday; GM says move procedural

Syndergaard scratched from start, optioned to Triple-A

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Promising young right-hander Noah Syndergaard has been scratched from his scheduled Saturday start against the Tigers at Joker Marchant Stadium after being struck on the left ankle by a ball while playing catch on Thursday.

The news broke shortly after manager Terry Collins spoke at length about how much he was looking forward to seeing Syndergaard and left-hander Steven Matz, two of the organization's best prospects, face the veteran Detroit lineup. Matz will now get the start.

Instead, Syndergaard and right-hander Cory Mazzoni were optioned while right-hander Jon Velasquez and catcher Kevin Plawecki were reassigned to Minor League camp. The roster move with Syndergaard was largely procedural and involved Friday's deadline for players on the 40-man roster to receive Major League service time if they open the season on the disabled list.

The Mets don't believe Syndergaard is seriously injured, however.

"He took a ball off his ankle and he was a little ouchie this morning," general manager Sandy Alderson said. "So we sent him over for an X-ray. He's more or less fine. He was scheduled to pitch [Saturday] but we're just going to bang him. And because he's not pitching, we optioned him. He's fine."

Alderson was asked what Syndergaard must do to join the big league rotation.

"He just needs to go down and pitch the way he's capable of pitching and focus on the job at hand," the GM said. "Which is his role at [Triple-A] Las Vegas and not worry about what openings or opportunities may arise in New York.

"When they do, assuming he's focused on his own performance in Vegas, he'll get an opportunity. That's not to say he's first in line, second in line. I don't want to get into that. All he needs to do is go pitch the way he's capable of pitching."

Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.