Jacob deGrom’s rehab “gets there” as he builds up before Mets return


Jacob deGrom's rehab "gets there" as he builds up before Mets return

CHICAGO — Jacob deGrom’s fastball bangs at or near three-digit numbers on the radar gun, and his secondary pitches are crisp. Another vote awaits him next week, and then it could be time for the Mets ace at Citi Field.

“He’s getting there,” Mets pitching coach Jeremy Hefner said Friday, a day after deGrom fired four innings and allowed an unmerited run for Triple-A Syracuse against Jacksonville. “Now it’s just a matter of building up. He’s in command, his stuff comes out well and crispness and the off-speed pitches. It’s all there. Now we just have to make sure it’s set up correctly.”

DeGrom was removed after 42 pitches in his last game after going through four innings for the first time. With the minor leagues dark during the All-Star break, the Mets are planning a simulated game for deGrom that would stretch him to about 60 pitches before he would be considered for the major league rotation.

The right-hander, who was recently recovering from a stress reaction on his right shoulder blade, last played for the Mets in the regular season on July 7, 2021.

Jacob deGrom is playing in his third rehab start at Triple-A Syracuse.
Jacob deGrom is playing in his third rehab start at Triple-A Syracuse.
Danny Tripodi

Hefner was asked if he saw any red flags during deGrom’s three rehab starts.

“There are little things that happen with all pitchers, even healthy guys and on the team, like little mechanical things that you work on,” Hefner said. “There was nothing apart from the normal tunings. We still have to take it day by day and see how he feels.

As for the possibility that deGrom will return after the All-Star break during homestand — team officials have discussed July 24 (vs San Diego) and July 26 (Subway Series) as possibilities — Hefner doesn’t want that just yet look far ahead.

“It just depends on how he’s feeling,” Hefner said. “It’s just one of those things where he could get another rehab start in triple-A or double-A or something and then five days later or six days later that day could be [with the Mets].”

Jacob de Grom
Jacob deGrom has yet to build up before his Mets return.
Danny Tripodi

The Mets already have an impressive rotation that includes Max Scherzer, Taijuan Walker, Chris Bassitt, Carlos Carrasco and David Peterson. The Mets started Friday in ninth place in the MLB with a 3.79 ERA from the starting pitchers. In July, this unit achieved an ERA of 2.55.

DeGrom’s impending return will only bolster Hefner’s confidence in the rotation.

“You’re adding one of the greatest pitchers of all time to your team,” Hefner said of the two-time Cy Young award winner. “We’re going to be excited and I think it’s kind of a credit to what we’ve built here over the last few years, what [Peterson] was able to do and Trevor [Williams]and ultimately it’s a credit to them and the hard work they put in to go out there and do their best.

“We’re going to need these guys, regardless of Jake or anyone else. You have to have 20 pitchers to win a championship, and not all 20 of them will be on the list at the same time, but they’re just as valuable. They bring different things with them.”

Hefner said he hasn’t been surprised by anything he’s seen of his starters so far.

“These guys have a pretty impressive track record as consistent starters in the major leagues,” he said. “Not necessarily dominant every time, but consistent and I think we’ve done that. We won’t be blown out. Overall we’ve been in almost every game and we give our offense a chance to get some runs and I think that was part of our success and the bullpen was great.

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