When it comes to Jacob deGrom, the Mets hope that a short-term sacrifice leads to long-term gain. The righthander will rejoin the starting rotation Friday against the Nationals, giving him an extra four days to ward off what the team believes was fatigue.

But that extra buffer meant skipping what would have been his scheduled start Monday against Jose Fernandez and the Marlins, one of the teams ahead of the Mets in the wild-card chase.

“When we talked about giving him a rest, one of the things that was mentioned was it couldn’t come at a worse time,” Collins said. “And the answer is, hey look, you got to do it when you got to do it. There’s no real good times.”

In his previous two starts, deGrom allowed 13 runs in 9 2⁄3 innings. His ERA climbed from 2.29 to 2.96.

Noah Syndergaard will start Saturday against the Nationals.

Banged up

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Leftfielder Yoenis Cespedes returned to the starting lineup Monday after missing Sunday’s game with a tight right calf.

But second baseman Neil Walker remains sidelined with a stiff back and shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera did not start after leaving in the first inning Sunday with a lingering left knee injury. Walker and Cabrera are day to day.

Cabrera earned National League player of the week. He had hit a league-best .545 in six games last week. But Monday, lateral movement gave him trouble and the pain kept him from agility drills to test his knee, which has cost him several weeks in both spring training and in August.

“Do you hope 24 hours makes a difference? Yeah, you do,” Collins said. “But we don’t know because this is the third time we’ve been through this to where it ends up being a little bit more extended than we thought.”

Bruce sits

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Jay Bruce is healthy. Yet, with Fernandez on the mound Monday, he found himself out of the lineup for the second time in three days.

Bruce went 1-for-4 with three strikeouts Sunday against the Phillies. He is hitting just .165 since arriving in a trade from the Reds. He’s expected to be back in the lineup Tuesday.

“This guy’s got a track record of when he gets hot, he carries you,” Collins said. “So we certainly haven’t thrown in the towel yet.”

Tebowing

The Mets will have a scout in attendance Tuesday for Tim Tebow’s workout.