Two-time Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom is another step closer to rejoining the New York Mets. Thursday night, deGrom threw four innings and 42 pitches in his third minor-league rehab start as he works his way from the stress reaction he suffered in his right shoulder in spring training. He moved up to Triple-A after making his first two rehab starts in Class A.
“I felt good,” deGrom told reporters following his rehab start (via MLB.com). “I felt a little out of whack in the first couple innings, but then tried to make a little bit of an adjustment. I wasn’t locating my fastball quite like I wanted to early on, but the last couple innings went a lot better.”
July 14 rehab start in Triple-A
As has been the case throughout his three rehab starts, deGrom threw very hard Thursday, hitting 100 mph three times. At this point he is building up his stamina and regaining feel for his arsenal more than building arm strength, similar to spring training. deGrom has gradually increased his pitch count from 24 to 36 to 42 in his three rehab starts.
“It hasn’t been that much fun. I’m trying to stick to the process. I want to be up there helping the [Mets],” deGrom said about the rehab process (via MLB.com). “… With this injury, it was kind of cut and dried, ‘Hey, you’ve gotta take this amount of time and slowly work your way back.’ It stinks being out, but getting close now, so definitely ready to be back up there.”
Next week is the All-Star break, both at the MLB and minor-league levels, and the Mets tentatively plan to have deGrom throw an extended simulated game next week, reports the New York Post. The team has yet to decide whether deGrom will be activated after that, or make another rehab start. His current schedule suggests the earliest deGrom can return is July 24 against the Padres.
Now 34, deGrom has not pitched in an MLB game in over a calendar year. His last big league appearance was last July 7. He was dominant that night (10 strikeouts in seven innings), then was placed on the injured list with a flexor issue a few days later. The flexor is healed and deGrom made two spring training starts before going down with the stress reaction in his shoulder.
The Mets recently welcomed Max Scherzer back after he missed roughly seven weeks with an oblique injury. They are still without breakout righty Tylor Megill, however. Megill is out until at least mid-August with a shoulder problem. Veterans Carlos Carrasco, Chris Bassitt and Taijuan Walker have been rotation mainstays all year. David Peterson has filled in admirably as well.
At 56-34, the Mets are 2 1/2 games up on the defending World Series champion Atlanta Braves in the NL East. That lead was 10 1/2 games as recently as June 1. As much as the Mets will need deGrom to help them win the division, the ultimate goal is pairing him with Scherzer in the postseason to form the game’s best 1-2 punch.