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Saturday June 12th, 2021 8:10PM

LEADING OFF: Syndergaard set back, Valdez back with Astros

By The Associated Press
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A look at what's happening around the majors Friday:

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ELBOW WOES

The Mets may need to reassess their rotation after learning Thursday that right-hander Noah Syndergaard won't throw for at least six weeks due to inflammation in his right elbow.

The hard-throwing 28-year-old was nearing a return from Tommy John surgery when he left his second minor league rehab start Tuesday after just one inning. The Mets said an MRI showed no structural damage to his UCL. Manager Luis Rojas said “we pray that he can pitch for us this year.”

Syndergaard is one of several Mets on the injured list and one of four pitchers along with Carlos Carrasco (right hamstring), Taijuan Walker (right side) and Jordan Yamamoto (right shoulder). Carrasco, expected to serve as the Mets’ No. 2 pitcher in Syndergaard’s absence, is on the 60-day IL and not expected to return until at least July.

Despite the injuries, New York's starters entered Thursday with a combined 2.94 ERA, fifth best in the majors.

Walker is set to pitch Friday against Atlanta.

QUICK HEALER

Framber Valdez is set to make his first start of 2021 for Houston after breaking his left ring finger during spring training. Houston initially feared the 27-year-old left-hander could miss nearly the entire season, but his injury healed surprisingly fast.

Valdez made two minor league rehab starts, most recently throwing 54 pitches in four innings for Triple-A Sugar Land on Saturday. He was a breakout star with the Astros in 2020, going 5-3 with a 3.57 ERA, then had a 1.88 ERA in four games (three starts) during the postseason.

Valdez will face the Padres and right-hander Dinelson Lamet (1-0, 1.64).

FROM THE TOP

A pair of No. 1 overall draft choices will share the mound when Yankees ace Gerrit Cole faces Tigers right-hander Casey Mize.

Cole (6-2, 1.81) was taken first overall in the 2011 draft by Pittsburgh and has since emerged as one of the game's best. The 30-year-old is as sharp as ever, striking out 92 and walking just eight this season over 64 2/3 innings.

Mize (3-3, 3.42) is figuring things out in his second big league season after being drafted No. 1 in 2018. He had a 6.99 ERA in seven starts as a rookie in 2020 and struggled again this April, but he's begun to make good on his potential in May. The 24-year-old is 2-0 with a 1.73 ERA in four starts this month.

The Yankees are hoping to get closer Aroldis Chapman back from a non-coronavirus illness that has sidelined him for two days.

WELCOME BACK

The Brewers are set to open a three-game series in Washington, their first visit to Nationals Park since a crushing defeat in the 2019 NL wild-card game. Milwaukee led the game 3-1 before right fielder Trent Grisham misplayed Juan Soto's bases-loaded single in the bottom of the eighth, enabling Washington to go ahead 4-3.

The Nats locked up the victory and went on to win the World Series, while Milwaukee traded Grisham to San Diego that winter. He won an NL Gold Glove in 2020 in center field.

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More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Baseball , AP Sports - Major League Baseball, AP Sports - Minor League Baseball
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