PORT ST. LUCIE — Noah Syndergaard will be the Mets’ Opening Day starter March 29 when they play the Cardinals at Citi Field.
After Syndergaard finished his fourth spring training start Tuesday — 4.2 innings of work against the Astros in which he recorded five strikeouts, walked three and gave up two runs (one earned) on four hits — Mets manager Mickey Callaway made the announcement about Syndergaard. Callaway added that Jacob deGrom will pitch the second game of the season, March 31.
“I think he’s deserved it,” Callaway said of Syndergaard’s Opening Day honors. “He’s looked great. He did a great job this offseason of getting his body where it needed to be.”
Syndergaard, who missed most of last season with a partially torn right lat muscle, gassed Houston leadoff hitter George Springer with a 99 mph fastball for strike three to open the game.
“I feel like things are starting to come together mechanically. Just feeling real confident on the mound right now,” Syndergaard said. “Basically just executing every single one of my pitches. It’s nice to be able to go out there, throw whatever you want, say, ‘What if?’”
Syndergaard ran into trouble in the second when the Astros loaded the bases on a single, walk and an infield squib sandwiched around A.J. Reed’s strikeout. But with the bases jammed, Syndergaard recorded consecutive whiffs of Tim Federowicz (looking) and Jake Marisnick (swinging). In the third, the Astros plated two runs on an Evan Gattis two-run single, but shortstop Jose Reyes helped Houston by flubbing a Carlos Correa grounder for an error the batter before Gattis.
“Hopefully we see them in the World Series,” Syndergaard said of Houston. “Those guys (Correa, Springer and reigning American League MVP Jose Altuve), they’re young and very talented. They’re gonna be some of the top 10 faces of baseball for a long time.”
Syndergaard is the first Mets pitcher since Johan Santana (2008-10) to make consecutive Opening Day starts.
“We think that’s a pretty good one and two coming out of the gate,” said Callaway.
TEBOW TIME OVER
Former Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow got cut from the major-league squad Tuesday. After a month suiting up in the Mets’ big- league clubhouse, Tebow got the news late Tuesday after he went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts in an exhibition against the Houston Astros. The lefty-hitting former Jets backup quarterback hit .056 in the Grapefruit League and had 11 strikeouts in 19 plate appearances.
He was a designated hitter only and never played the outfield, but Tebow was hampered by a sore left ankle that he injured after tripping on an outfield sprinkler head during drills earlier in camp. “It’s not like it’s a shock. It’s not like I was, ‘Oh my gosh,’” Tebow joked. “Continue to work. That’s really the focus. Unfortunately I couldn’t do as much as I wanted to with my ankle, which is kind of disappointing.”
Tebow, 30, will be reassigned to minor-league camp.
Brandon Nimmo whacked his third homer of spring training, a solo blast off Houston starter Garrit Cole, who was a winter target of the Yankees before being traded by Pittsburgh to the World Series champs… Reliever Anthony Swarzak (left calf) will pitch a simulated game Wednesday, Callaway said… First baseman Dominic Smith (strained right quad) is “progressing with baseball activity” the team announced Tuesday.
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