NEW YORK -- Noah Syndergaard and Matt Harvey began their throwing programs Monday, playing catch together at Citi Field in their first steps toward returning to the mound for the New York Mets.
Whether either one gets back in time to make a difference this season, well, that remains to be seen.
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On the mend from significant injuries, both right-handers said they felt good -- but neither would put a timetable on his recovery. Harvey hasn't been sidelined as long as Syndergaard, but both are at least several weeks away from coming off the disabled list.
"We'll try and get back as quick as we can," Harvey said.
Syndergaard, an All-Star last season, has been out since May 1 with a torn lat muscle on his right side. Harvey, the oft-injured former ace who has faded the past two years, went down in mid-June with a stress injury to his right shoulder.
Pirates: Marte humbled in return from suspension
PITTSBURGH -- Starling Marte insists he still isn't sure exactly how the illegal steroid that cost the Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder an 80-game suspension got into his system. All set to return Tuesday night, he stressed he did not inject himself with Nandrolone but understands he was "careless" while spending last offseason in his native Dominican Republic.
"That's something I regret, not being careful enough," Marte said through translator Mike Gonzalez on Monday in the final hours before his forced half-season sabbatical ends.
The 28-year-old, a two-time Gold Glove winner and one-time All-Star, apologized to his teammates in the minutes after his suspension was handed down on April 18. He offered a broader one to the organization and the fan base, well aware his misstep could follow him for the remainder of his career.
'"'I can't lie to you, there is a bit of a concern," Marte said. "But I respect anything that's thrown my way, I understand it. I would wish that things would go smoothly but I can't say that they will. Whether it goes positively or negatively, I will be motivated" (see full story).
Braves: Rodriguez, Santana activated from DL
ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Braves have activated utility players Sean Rodriguez and Danny Santana from the disabled list.
Right-hander Jason Hursh and infielder Jace Peterson were optioned to Triple-A Gwinnett.
Rodriguez will start at third base in his Braves debut against the Cubs on Monday night. Freddie Freeman is starting at first base.
Rodriguez needed surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff in his left shoulder after a vehicle he was driving was rammed by a stolen police car in Miami on Jan. 28. His wife, Giselle, and two of their children were hospitalized and have recovered from their injuries.
There were concerns Rodriguez would miss the season after the surgery. He signed a two-year, $11.5 million deal with Atlanta in November.
Rodriguez set career highs by hitting .270 with 18 homers and 56 RBIs for Pittsburgh in 2016.
Santana missed the minimum 10 days with a bacterial infection.