New York Jets Zach Wilson addresses camp struggles, preseason opener

new york jets, zach wilson

Nearly a week removed from a tough showing at MetLife Stadium, the New York Jets’ developing franchise QB addressed his publicized struggles.

Observers of both the professional amateur status alike are abuzz about Zach Wilson’s unofficial MetLife Stadium debut. Alas, many disregard the fact it comes this Saturday against the New York Giants (7:30 p.m. ET, WNBC), but instead turn to the prior weekend.

Unofficial accounts from East Rutherford had him earning an 11-of-24 completion rate for 112 yards and two interceptions last weekend. For example, it was enough for Fox Sports’ Colin Cowherd, famous for asking for Jets AFC title game tickets when Adam Gase was hired, to liken him to Johnny Manziel.

Mind you, this wasn’t a reaction to Wilson’s Week 1 showing or even the upcoming Snoopy Bowl…this came in the aftermath of the Jets’ Green & White Scrimmage.

Wilson’s struggles in both East Rutherford and the Jets’ camp proceedings in Florham Park have been a national talking point over the last few weeks, causing some observers to prematurely prophesize him as a bust. With game day approaching, Wilson himself addressed his struggles after Wednesday’s practice on One Jets Drive.

In a statement perhaps best characterized by its uncanny pairing of bluntness and hope, Wilson declared that he would refuse to back down from a dangerous, if not lucrative, throw in practice if the only thing holding him back was the fear of making a mistake. It’s part of a process, a search for a philosophy that Wilson calls “aggressively smart”.

“I can’t be afraid to make mistakes, especially in practice. This isn’t a game; this is where I’m learning what I can get away with and what I can’t,” Wilson said on Wednesday, speaking about a pass nearly intercepted by C.J. Mosley, per quotes from the Jets. “As we get closer to game, you have to start teaching yourself, in that situation C.J. got his hand on it, he made the play and so it’s like next time in that situation and that same look, I’m going to check the ball down. That’s what we practice for is to play situations out like that.”

Unlike his critics, Wilson believes that practice performances can’t be judged by conventional box score stats. These sessions, particularly the preparation in training camp, are a time for everyone to experiment, including the defenses he’ll be facing.

He prefers to view the matters on a play-by-play basis.

“You can’t really grade stats or how many touchdowns or how many yards because every play is really what we’re grading,” Wilson remarked. “We’re grading how did we do on that one play. I think I’ve said this before, you don’t look at the whole practice and say, ‘How was practice today?’ It’s like, ‘How did I do on some of these plays and what plays can I get better at?’”

new york jets, zach wilson
 Mandatory Credit: New York Jets/Handout Photo via USA TODAY Sports

Even if Wilson wishes to dispose of the box score mindset when it comes to practice, he had a strong showing by conventional standards on Wednesday. Per Connor Hughes of The Athletic, Wilson was 10-of-18 with four touchdowns during team sessions.

Wilson knew right from the get-go that his status as a New York quarterback, especially one for the star-crossed Jets, was going to cast him in a permanent spotlight. The second overall choice in last spring’s draft believes his time elevating the mid-tier BYU program to the national spotlight helped prepare him for the challenges ahead.

It was reportedly nothing the Cougars’ program, storied as it may be, had to offer, but rather the typical history, burdens, and expectations forever associated with the quarterback spot.

“I think I really learned it at BYU just because the ups and downs of the journey that come with playing quarterback. I understand it’s part of the position and I think there are a lot more pros than there is cons.”

“It doesn’t really tell the story when other people are watching, they don’t understand how detailed and what my reads are, what I’m thinking, what a receiver is doing,” he continued, “They don’t understand any of that stuff and that’s why we keep our circle within us, and we do what we’re supposed to do as far as just learning what we’re supposed to be learning. (I’m) just ignoring the outside noise and listening to what my coaches say.”

One way to get the early critics off his his back, even if they’ll undoubtedly come no matter the result of Saturday’s game, would be a strong showing against the Jets’ MetLife Stadium roommates.

The annual metropolitan civil war and preseason has previously served as a stage for breakouts on both sides. Victor Cruz memorably broke out for three touchdowns in the 2010 edition (the unofficial first contest at East Rutherford’s new facility) while Wilson’s predecessor Sam Darnold temporarily showed the Giants what they were potentially missing with a strong showing eight seasons later.

As expected, Wilson is the first quarterback on the Jets’ depth chart entering Saturday’s action. Metropolitan bragging rights aren’t the utmost importance, especially in an exhibition game, and both the scrimmage and open training camps allowed him to get the culture shock of New York football with fans out of the way early.

Wilson instead views the game as an extended, higher octane practice sessions…only this time, he’s excited to see what a non-green defense throws at him.

“Right now, we don’t know what they’re going to give us because it’s a preseason game. So, it’s like how can we keep getting better ourselves?” Wilson said. “I’m excited, it’s going to be good to prepare, just to get back into a season. It’s crazy how fast it flies by from college to now, preparing with these guys. I feel like we’re learning a lot and we still got a lot of time to just keep learning. We’re learning now, we got a lot of learning this week and when we see these different opponents, it’s going to be great for us.”

Following the Giants’ “visit”, the Jets will go to Green Bay before wrapping the exhibition slate back at home against Philadelphia.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

NASCAR: Team Penske, Ford continue 2021 misfortunes at Watkins Glen

Although the manufacturer picked up a victory in Loudon a few weeks ago, Ford returned to their struggles last weekend in the NASCAR Cup Series at Watkins Glen, especially on the Team Penske front. Kevin Harvick was the highest finisher for Ford in 8th, while Penske’s highest finisher was Ryan Blaney in a modest 14th place.

Ford and Team Penske haven’t performed well on road courses this season, but both parties have struggled everywhere season. All three Team Penske drivers picked up victories before May, while the other two victories for Ford in 2021 came with Michael McDowell in the Daytona 500 and with Aric Almirola recently in Loudon. Ford went nearly three months without a victory, dating back to the end of April.

All four Stewart-Haas drivers were decent at Watkins Glen on Sunday as Cole Custer was the worst finisher on the team in 18th. However, all three Team Penske drivers really struggled. Brad Keselowski dealt with brake problems all afternoon, as wheel-hops sent him spinning multiple times. One of Keselowski’s spins took out teammate Joey Logano in turn one, forcing both drivers to pit with damage.

Logano won stage one of the race before pit stops shuffled him towards the middle of the field on the impending restart. The 31-year-old started to struggle in dirty air before being taken out by Keselowski, resulting in a 22nd place finish. Keselowski finished in 35th place, three laps down.

Blaney was the highest finisher of the three Team Penske cars but had issues of his own. He went for a spin in the bus stop on lap 25 and lost a lot of time, but rebounded to improve his finish.

Although Joey Logano has three top-5s on road courses this year, his teammates haven’t had nearly as much success as him. Blaney and Keselowski have one combined top-5 at road courses in 2021, and their finishes are trending downward.

“Our best road course this year was The Clash, but after that, we haven’t been great,” Blaney said prerace on Sunday. “Road America was a struggle for us, and we had our certain issues that we worked really hard to try and get better for this week (Watkins Glen). Hopefully they apply for this week, and we can make them even better for Indy next week, and then you hope you’re good for the ROVAL”.

While Blaney and the No. 12 team feel they could be headed in the right direction on road courses, Keselowski feels otherwise about his No. 2 team.

“There’s not a lot we can do with the rules freeze,” Keselowski said. “We’re kind of stuck where we are”.

With their wins earlier in the season, all three drivers are locked into the 2021 playoffs. However, with Ford and Team Penske struggling in the summer months, could the trio be headed for early playoff exits?

New York Yankees Recap: Tyler Wade powers the Yankees to the series win over the Royals

New York Yankees, Tyler Wade

Today the New York Yankees went for the win of the series, a rubber game for both teams at 2:10 pm EDT. The Yankees had no pitcher available for the game, so they put together a bullpen game led by Lucas Luetge as an opener in his first-ever major league start and other relievers to get the win. Before the game, the Yankees announced that yet another Yankee, Clay Holmes, was put on the Covid list. The Yankees won the series and today’s game 5-2.

As in many games, DJ LeMahieu headed up a lineup missing several regular players, including newly acquired Anthony Rizzo. Brady Singer was on the mound for the Royals facing LeMahieu, who walked on five pitches. Brett Gardner struck out. Aaron Judge singled to centerfield. Joey Gallo walked to load the bases with Yankees. Luke Voit singled to right center, scoring LeMahieu and Judge. With men on the corners and still only one out, Odor lined out to left, scoring Gallo. Andrew Velaquez ground into a double play, but the Yankees got the 3 run early lead.

At the bottom of the first inning, Lucas Luetge started his first major league game by facing Whit Merrifield, who singled up the middle. Merrifield stole second for his 33rd straight stolen base. Nicky Lopez flew out to Tyler Wade playing in left field. Salvador Perez ground out with Merrifield scoring. Andrew Benintendi struck out swinging. New York Yankees 3 Kansas City Royals 1.

The second inning was led off by Tyler Wade, who struck out swinging. Rob Brantly singled up the middle. LeMahieu singled to left, moving Brantly to second with one out. Gardner, who has had a .380 OBP of late, flew out to the warning track in center with LeMahieu moving to third base. Judge popped out to second the end the half leaving two on base. At the bottom, Hunter Dozier singled off Velaquez’s glove at short. Ryan O’Hearn flew out to left. Michael Taylor flew out to right. Hunter Dozier stole second. Emmanuel Rivera flew out to left. Yankees 3 Royals 1.

Joey Gallo led off the third inning for the Yankees and walked. Voit followed by hitting into a 6-4-3 double play. Odor doubled to the left-field wall. Velaquez ground out to first. The bottom saw the new Yankee pitcher Albert Abreu facing Cam Galagher, who struck out looking. Merrifield singled again, this one to left. The Yankees were watching for him to steal again. However, Abreu balked with Merrifield moving to second. Lopez ground out to short, Merrifield advanced to third. Perez struck out swinging. Yankees 3 Royals 1.

The fourth inning was led off by Tyler Wade, who had a lead-off stand-up double to right. Brantly flew out to right. Wade stole third base. LeMahieu went up the middle, scoring Wade. Gardner ripped one to the center, moving LeMahieu to second. Judge hit one to center, scoring Brandly with Gardner being called out at third. That was the end of it for starter Singer. Next, Richard Lovelady faced Gallo, who made a sky-high out to shallow center.

At the bottom of the fourth, with Abreu still on the mound, Benintendi ground out. Dozier singled in front of Gardner in the center. O’Hearn singled to center. Taylor, with two on and one out, went down swinging. Rivera went down swinging and leaving two Royals on base. New York Yankees 5 Kansas City 1.

Luke Voit led off the fifth by striking out. Odor had an infield pop out. Velaquez singled through the left field and attempted to steal second, made it, but over slid the base for the final out. At the bottom, Gallagher got a lead-off double down the left-field line against Abreu. Merrifield flew out to left, but Wade made the diving catch. Gallagher moved to third. Joely Rodriguez replaced Abreu and faced Lopez, who reached on an E6 with Gallagher scoring. Perez hit into a double play ending the inning. Yankees 5 Royals 2.

Tyler Wade led off the sixth inning against Domingo Tapia and walked. Brantly skied to left for the first out. Wade stole second and reached third on an E2. LeMahieu struck out, and Gardner lined out directly to first base. Benintendi led off the bottom and walked against J-Rod, ending his day. Dozier faced Chad Green and struck out swinging. O’Hearn struck out looking. Taylor popped out to Voit. Yankees 5 Royals 2.

The seventh inning was led off by Aaron Judge against Jake Brentz and went down on strikes. Gallo flew out to left. Voit went down looking for a 1-2-3 inning for Brentz. At the bottom, Rivera popped out to second. Gallagher reached on a throwing error by Odor overthrowing Voit. Merrifield singled before Wade in left. Gallagher went to third on the play. On his 34th stolen base attempt, Merrifield was called out by Velaquez, which was upheld upon review. Lopez went down swinging. New York Yankees 5 Royals 2.

With Greg Holland on the mound for the eighth, Odor flew out to center. Velaquez popped out. Wade doubled for the second time in the game. Brantly ground out to end the half. At the bottom, Perez against Jonathan Loaisiga, the Yankee’s fifth pitcher, ground out to Wade, then playing third. Benintendi ground out to second. Dozier struck out swinging as Loaisiga put down the Royals in order. New York Yankees 5 Royals 2.

At the top of the ninth, it was the top of the lineup for the Yankees. LeMahieu faced Ervin Santana and ground out to short. Gardner flew out to the centerfield wall. Judge ground out to third to end the half. Zack Britton came for the Yankees to close it out. O’Hearn got hit in the back by Britton. Taylor with O’Hearn on first singled, but O’Hearn was out at second. Rivera reached on another Yankee error the third of the game an E5 on Odor. Santana hit into a double play bringing the Yankees another series win, their eleventh off the Royals.

The final score was the New York Yankees 5 and the Kansas City Royals 2. The winning pitcher was Chad Green; the loser was Brady Singer. Zack Britton got his first save of the year.






New York Giants: Why Xavier McKinney will play as much as a starter this season

New York Giants, Xavier McKinney

The New York Giants had one of the best defenses in the NFL last season. The unit features a crowded safety room with a group of talented players. Jabrill Peppers and Logan Ryan are the projected starters at each of the two starting safety positions. But second-year safety Xavier McKinney could still see the field as much as a starter this season.

How Xavier McKinney will see the field so much

The Giants’ 2020 second-round draft pick was sidelined for the majority of his rookie season after suffering a foot fracture during training camp. Xavier McKinney did not see any regular-season action until Week 12 of this past season. He only played five snaps in Week 12 but saw his playing time increase as the weeks went on. By the end of the season, McKinney was playing nearly as much as a starter would. In Week 17 versus the Dallas Cowboys, Xavier McKinney played 74 total snaps (89% of the team’s defensive snaps).

Considering the impact Xavier had in his small sample size of playing time last season, it is reasonable to expect he will get a ton of playing time in 2021. The Giants love running “big nickel” defensive packages. These packages feature five defensive backs on the field like any nickel formation. However, the “big” nickel is the extra safety that is on the field in these packages. The Giants have a group of talented safeties: Jabrill Peppers, Logan Ryan, Xavier McKinney, and Julian Love. In order to get all of these players on the field at the same time, the Giants’ defense could look something like this:

This Nickel 3-3-5 Odd defense manages to get Peppers, Ryan, McKinney, and Love all on the field at the same time. Love slides into that “big nickel” role, playing slot cornerback as a safety. Ryan and McKinney play the two-deep safety positions while Jabrill Peppers creeps down into the box to play some weak side linebacker.

Defensive coordinator Patrick Graham loves to run big nickel formations, and the nickel 3-3-5 package is one of his favorites. Expect to see this formation and personnel package utilized frequently in 2021. This will lead to plenty of playing time for the New York Giants’ second-year safety Xavier McKinney.

New York Giants: Phil Simms comes out with support for Joe Judge

New York Giants head coach Joe Judge has been in the news a bunch this past week for the way the Giants have handled training camp, but this time, someone is coming to his defense. That someone is also an important name in Giants history – Super Bowl winning QB Phil Simms.

Some former players around the league have a problem with the way Judge is doing things, and are certain that it will backfire for the Giants, but Simms isn’t one of those players. His take is close to the opposite. While talking with CBS Sports, he mocked the idea that it’s impossible to win with a strict coaching style in the modern NFL.

Phill Simms’ take on Joe Judge

“Shut up, they’re wrong, you can. It’s team building. It really does bring chemistry to the team. When guys have to run, yeah it’s a punishment, but it’s kind of funny and it brings everybody together,” Simms stated.

Simms, of course, played under Bill Parcells – a coach that some believe Judge is trying and failing to imitate. The argument is often that Judge hasn’t won enough to throw his weight around and demand a high standard from the team yet.

However, that argument misses the fact that even great coaches like Parcells didn’t typically begin their career with a winning reputation and that they may never have achieved success if they let that change their methods.

The infamous training camp brawl and the harsh reaction to it has been used as a point of contention for critics of Judge. But Simms doesn’t believe it’s a problem.

“I didn’t look at that as a detriment. And practicing too hard? Oh, come on. Come on. You gotta practice and do things on the field, take a rest, get back on, like it’s a game. And when you do things like that, scientifically it’s been proven, that’s the way to do it. And that is the best way that you can help prevent your team from getting more injuries.”

The sentiment so far on the Giants roster seems to be closer to Simms’ thoughts than those of Judge’s critics. This criticism, after all, has come from players that haven’t played under Judge. When current team members have been asked for their take, the reaction has been positive even as they admit Judge’s style isn’t for everybody.

Ultimately, the offseason drama shouldn’t be too worrying. It may be a story right now, but it looks like the Giants have found a coach that works for them. And if they start winning under Judge this season, all the talk about his style being a negative will quickly melt away. For now, the skepticism is only natural for a national media that hasn’t followed the team’s improvement under Judge up close.

Former Islander Robin Lehner talks fallout with organization

It’s been two years since Robin Lehner has donned an Islanders sweater, but how the relationship ended between him and the organization is still a highly debated topic.

Lehner, 30, was a part of the 2018-19 Isles squad that shocked the league and made it to the second round of playoffs, only to bow out to the Carolina Hurricanes.

That season marked a career revival for Lehner personally after he admitted in training camp that he had been dealing with mental health problems and alcoholism in the years prior. The Swedish native went on to be one-half of the duo that won the William Jennings Trophy with Thomas Greiss. He was also named a Vezina Trophy finalist and the winner of the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, the award handed out annually to the NHL player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.

The feeling after that year was Lehner was going to be on the Island for the long haul. When the Islanders decided not to sign him — after he expressed his desire to come back — caught many fans by surprise. Lehner had become a fan-favorite in his short time with the organization and his performance was one the best in the league and the Isles had in goal in years.

Instead, the team decided to bring Semyon Varlamov into the fold. The move, which was raised eyebrows back then, has turned into a rousing success. Varlamov has helped backstop the Islanders to two consecutive third round appearances.

Lehner’s departure though has remained a mystery. The full story about what actually went down between him and the Isles has never been fully revealed. Until now.

The current Vegas Golden Knight was on the Cam and Strick Podcast yesterday where he discussed exactly where things went south before and during negotiations which eventually led him to sign elsewhere.


“The intention was to get things done at our end of the year meeting,” he said. “We talked and I was going to be a priority to get something done quickly. That didn’t happen. “We had Anders Lee and a few other players that were signing deals that year. We kept taking time and went the NHL Awards, and they said everything was going to be fine. We just kept waiting for an offer and then they wanted us to give them a number.”


Lehner revealed he was looking for more money and stability, to which the Isles only offered him a two-year deal worth $9M. This didn’t sit well with him as he believed he was worth more because of his numbers that season and his solid years before then.

“Obviously I wanted term and I thought I was worth more than $5M,” he added.
That money Lehner wanted was given to Varlamov. But there was an added caveat. Lehner mentioned the Isles were in pursuit of Artermi Panarin that free agency and the belief was that Varlamov and he would be brought in as a package deal with the two having the same agent.
That strategy didn’t fully work with Panarin ending up signing a long-term deal with the rival Rangers. Lehner on the other hand would eventually strike with the Chicago Blackhawks for $5M for one season. He would only spend a few months there before being dealt to Vegas, where he is now the number one in net after being awarded a five-year contract last summer and the recent trade of Marc-Andre Fleury.
Hearing what happened to Lehner provides a lot of clarity to a small, but interesting chapter for the Islanders. He remains one of the greatest one-year wonders in the history of the franchise. Both he and the organization have gone on to have a ton more success even after things didn’t end on the note everyone had hoped for.

BREAKING: Boxing match between Anderson Silva and Tito Ortiz targeted for September

It looks like we are going to see a boxing match that features two former UFC champions and two legends of the sport. MMA Fighting was the first to report today that Triller is finalizing a boxing matchup between Anderson Silva and Tito Ortiz.

The matchup will take place at a Triller event on September 11th. While Silva has been in talks for his next boxing bout, the booking has come out of no where in regards to the former UFC light heavyweight champion, Tito Ortiz.

Ortiz has teased a return to combat sports in the last year. The Huntington Beach Bad Boy was vocal to Bellator that he wanted to be the next man to challenge Fedor Emelianenko. However, Ortiz never got the opportunity.

We haven’t seen Ortiz compete in combat sports since December of 2019 when he fought former WWE Wrestler Alberto Del Rio. Ortiz won the fight by first round submission. This will be Ortiz’s first professional boxing match.

Another Boxing Match for Silva

Anderson Silva is back in the boxing ring after his big win back in September. Silva took on former middleweight world champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. In a surprising result, Silva controlled Chavez and won the boxing match fairly easily.

After the win, there was talks of a boxing matchup with Logan Paul. That is still supposedly being discussed, however, that is on the shelf for now. Now, Silva will return to the boxing ring to take on a fellow former UFC champion.

Silva should be the massive favorite in this matchup. Tito Ortiz has long been known for his wrestling and not his striking. Silva on the other hand has always been known for his slick striking.

If I’m being honest, I’ll be very interested to watch. That said, I just don’t see how Tito Ortiz will be competitive in boxing against Anderson Silva. That said, at the end of the day, it’s a fight and anything can happen.

Knicks make Kemba Walker signing official, Leon Rose raves about addition

knicks, kemba walker

The New York Knicks made the signing of point guard Kemba Walker official on Wednesday morning after a buy-out with the Oklahoma City Thunder finalized. After spending the 2020-21 season with the Boston Celtics, Walker is looking for a new challenge in New York.

As a Bronx native, Walker is coming home, playing at the biggest stage in basketball while trying to regain his form after a season where he played 43 games and struggled with a knee injury.

At this point in his career, Kemba has a degenerative left knee, but at 30-years-old, he still has gas left in the tank and value he can offer the Knicks. Averaging 19.3 points, 4.9 assists, and shooting 42% from the field last season, Walker also offers adequacy as a three-point shooter, connecting on 36% of his shots over 8.2 attempts last season.

The front office is ecstatic about acquiring Walker, especially on such an affordable contract. He’s expected to earn $9 million per season over two years, which is incredibly cost-efficient based on his $36 million AAV before the buyout. The official deal is two years, $18 million.

President Leon Rose stated on Wednesday:

”We are beyond thrilled to bring native New Yorker Kemba Walker to the city he’s proud to call home. He’s a tremendous talent whose skill and leadership will be a huge addition to our organization. We’ve already seen how well he performs on The Garden stage and can’t wait to witness it on a nightly basis in front of his family, friends and the best fans in the league.”

Pairing Walker with veteran PG Derrick Rose and draft pick Miles McBride should give the Knicks plenty of depth at the position. Previously featuring Elfrid Payton in a starting role, they upgraded significantly, which should contribute toward better play from some of their complementary pieces. All-Star Julius Randle will also be a benefactor of this move, opening up the floor for more shooting opportunities and taking pressure off him in high-intensity moments.

The team got better this off-season while managing to stay under the salary cap. On paper, the front office to the brilliant job.

UFC books Tom Aspinall – Sergei Pavlovich

The UFC has finalized a big time heavyweight fight for next month. The promotion announced today that surging heavyweight prospect Tom Aspinall (10-2) will be taking on Sergei Pavlovich (14-1).

The matchup will take place at the UFC‘s Fight Night on September 4th. Originally, this card was supposed to take place in London, however, the promotion has shifted gears and the fight will take place in Las Vegas.

For Pavlovich, he will be making his fourth appearance in the UFC. He made his debut back in 2018 and at the time he was undefeated. In his first fight he took on the legend, Alistair Overeem.

Overeem was able to stop Pavlovich in the first round to hand Pavlovich his first loss. Since then, Pavlovich has picked up two UFC wins over Marcelo Golm and Maurice Green. He was supposed to take on Ciryl Gane last August, but had to pull out of the fight.

This will be Pavlovich’s first fight in almost two years. His last UFC contest came back in October of 2019. When he makes the walk in a few weeks, Pavlovich will be holding the 15th ranking in the heavyweight division.

UFC’s Top Heavyweight Prospect?

You can make the argument that the top prospect in the UFC’s heavyweight division is Tom Aspinall. The British heavyweight is ranked 13th currently but he has all the skills to become a future world champion.

In July of last year, Aspinall finally made his UFC debut against Jake Collier. Aspinall was able to score a first round knockout in the opening minute. Since then, he’s scored back-to-back finishes.

Most recently, Aspinall fought former UFC champion Andrei Arlovski back in February. Aspinall was able to score a second round submission finish that came on the heels of him dropping the former champion.

This fight against Pavlovich is going to be a good test for Aspinall. The UFC has a lot of faith in this guy and originally they wanted him to fight in front of his home fans in England. However, he will be competing in Vegas, but this is still a massive opportunity.

Mets’ rehabbing star could pitch out of the bullpen upon return

New York Mets, Noah Syndergaard

The New York Mets need all the help they can get, and Noah Syndergaard, currently rehabbing from Tommy John surgery performed last spring, should be ready to return in September after experiencing a setback in June.

He is now getting closer to helping the Mets, although he is still not quite there. However, according to general manager Zack Scott, he may not return as a starter.

In late July, Scott talked about the possibility of Thor coming back as a reliever. Theoretically, it would mean a faster return given that he won’t have to stretch out to five or six innings before being slotted in the Mets’ rotation.

The acting GM reiterated that point on August 10. He said, according to SNY:

“He’s someone that obviously has a lot of talent, has the potential to impact the game, and at this point of the year, we just mentioned sense of urgency, coming in and contributing in a shorter relief outing, whether that’s a two or three inning outing or whatever it may be, I think getting him to help the big league club is the priority when you get down to these last couple months of the season. … Getting him back in September in a role where he can help the club in relief would be a good thing for us to do.”

The Mets’ pitcher is close to returning

The pitcher is very close to taking an enormous step in his road back: he will, according to Mets’ manager Luis Rojas, face hitters soon.

After that, he will need to go on a rehab assignment and face game situations. It looks like Syndergaard will get to return to the Mets after all the work he has put on during his rehab, but it may be in an unconventional role for him.

Additionally, if Jacob deGrom returns from his own injury, the Mets’ biggest need pitching-wise would be the bullpen. Sending Syndergaard there seems like a logical move.