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Jacob deGrom looking forward to All-Star experience

Jacob deGrom #48 of the Mets poses with

Jacob deGrom #48 of the Mets poses with his All-Star Game jersey before a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Citi Field on Saturday, July 11, 2015. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Jacob deGrom doesn't see himself as a prolific video and picture-taker by any means. But Tuesday in Cincinnati is poised to bring out the inner photographer in the Mets righthander.

It has taken deGrom only 14 months in the big leagues to establish himself as a pitcher worthy of being an All-Star selection, so when he gets to Great American Ball Park, he doesn't plan on taking anything for granted.

"I've never really been big into taking videos and pictures that much,'' he said, "but I probably will there just because it's my first time and you never know if you're going to make another one.''

During the Mets' final few games of the first half, deGrom didn't give much thought to what will occur in Cincinnati, other than speaking with some former All-Stars in the Mets' clubhouse.

"He asked me a few questions about it,'' two-time All-Star Michael Cuddyer said. "I told him that it's an awesome experience. Take it in and enjoy yourselves because it's not much time.''

But after the Mets' 5-3 win over the Diamondbacks on Sunday, it finally began to sink in. DeGrom said he is looking forward to meeting Giants lefthander Madison Bumgarner, last year's World Series MVP, and possibly pitching to four-time All-Star Mike Trout of the Angels.

"He's a great hitter,'' deGrom said. "It would be fun to face him and try to get him out.''

When he was young, the All-Star Game was a yearly tradition for deGrom. He said he watched as many of them as he could, but the game itself wasn't even his favorite event.

"I really enjoyed the Home Run Derby as a kid,'' he said. "That's what I enjoyed the most.''

With the Mets only two games behind the NL East-leading Washington Nationals at the break, deGrom will take the Great American Ball Park mound with real incentive. Whichever league wins the game will earn home-field advantage for the team that represents it in the World Series.

"I think that's going to make it fun,'' deGrom said. "When you're playing for something, you definitely want to compete a little more. So I think trying to get the National League a win is pretty important.''

For deGrom, the All-Star Game will be a highlight in a season full of them. After an impressive rookie season -- he compiled a 2.69 ERA and 1.14 WHIP en route to being named NL Rookie of the Year -- the 27-year-old is 9-6 with a 2.14 ERA and 0.92 WHIP this year.

A few things have contributed to the spike in success, he said.

"I think just being able to adjust to hitters during the game,'' deGrom said. "And I think my off-speed's been a little more consistent, being able to throw 3-and-2 sliders and changeups and stuff like that. So I think that's helped me out a lot. Versus last year, where I'd probably throw a fastball 3-and-2 every time.''

With his entire family in attendance, deGrom said he will make sure to heed Cuddyer's advice.

"He just said enjoy yourself,'' deGrom said. "Don't get stressed out with what's going on. Just have fun and be yourself out there.''

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