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Rehabbing Noah Syndergaard after hitting 96 mph during side session: ‘Felt great’

Noah Syndergaard continues to make encouraging strides in rehab following Tommy John surgery, and the New York Mets flamethrower showed just how much progress has been made during a side session this week.

Throwing on Clover Park’s main field Thursday, Syndergaard topped out with his fastball at a fiery 96 mph on the radar gun during his pitching session.

“Felt great,” Syndergaard told the New York Post.

Mets manager Luis Rojas added some levity to the positive developments, however, by pointing out Syndergaard is “not at 100%” just yet. Still, the skipper was impressed with what he heard about the pitcher’s performance.

“I just got a really good report, and he’s in a good place,” Rojas said. “He’s such a hard worker. He’s done a fine job to get where he is today and he’s following the program. Everything is going accordingly right now.”

Next Friday will mark the one-year anniversary of Syndergaard’s Tommy John procedure, so the right-hander appears on track to return on the original projected timeline. The Mets have targeted Syndergaard’s return around June.

Syndergaard continues to decline any extensive interviews with the media, a practice that goes back for more than a year, so the “felt great” remark is the only thing to go on when gauging how he feels about where he is in his rehab. That said, he seemed happy with how things went during Thursday’s session, which was monitored by pitching coach Jeremy Hefner and David Lang, the coordinator of pitching analytics.

Until Syndergaard’s anticipated midseason return, the Mets will roll out a starting rotation anchored by Jacob deGrom, who has been dazzling so far in his Grapefruit League appearances. Unfortunately, the Mets experienced a setback this week on the pitching front after an MRI revealed that newcomer Carlo Carrasco suffered a torn hamstring that will sideline the pitcher for six to eight weeks.

Given Carrasco’s projected recovery timeline, it looks like if everything goes as expected, the Mets will enjoy a welcome one-two punch and a boost to its rotation as summer arrives with the former Cleveland pitcher making his return just before Syndergaard, currently on the 60-day IL himself, does.