PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Jacob deGrom estimated he threw 60-something curveballs last season, roughly two per start, so it’s not exactly a go-to pitch for the two-time Cy Young winner.
But Friday, on Field 7 behind Clover Park, deGrom decided to unholster the curve again during a simulated game — technically his third start of spring training — with the count 1-and-1 to J.D. Davis. It’s a pitch deGrom has been trying to refine down here, and Davis showed him it’s still very much an unfinished product by smashing the hanger over the leftfield wall.
“It’s something that I’ve been working on just to have another weapon,” deGrom said. “But once he hit it, I said to [catcher Rene Rivera], ‘That’s why I don’t throw it.’ ”
The other pitches, however, looked fine and deGrom was mostly pleased with the outing. He threw 51 over three innings, 32 for strikes, and allowed two hits, both to Davis, who also had a single. DeGrom struck out three, including Dom Smith swinging on a nasty changeup that had both of them laughing. He also had a few battles with Yoenis Cespedes, who grounded out twice and flied out to rightfield on a 3-and-2 slider.
Davis, who’s been recovering from a jammed left shoulder, passed a big test in his first live at-bats since injuring himself on Feb. 25.
“It’s a confidence-booster,” Davis said. “The shoulder held up pretty good so far, so that’s a pretty positive direction.”
Michael Wacha allowed his first run of spring training in his third start. Wacha, who is battling Steven Matz for the No. 5 starter’s job, was charged with one run in 2 2/3 innings against the Astros in West Palm Beach . . . Jeff McNeil was sent back to his Port St. Lucie lodgings after reporting to camp with the flu-like illness that has been going around the Mets, manager Luis Rojas said..
With Anthony Rieber in West Palm Beach, Fla.
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