WASHINGTON — Jacob deGrom will face the Nationals on Tuesday night, his first game in more than a year, and then will come the hard part: Doing it again five games later, then five games after that and so on until the season ends.
This will be the fourth consecutive outing — out of five total chances since starting a rehab assignment a month ago — in which deGrom received at least one extra day of rest. The Mets don’t know yet if he’ll be able to routinely pitch on regular rest and thus be a member of a normal five-man rotation for the major-league team down the stretch.
“That’s an unknown for me, personally,” manager Buck Showalter said on Monday, adding the caveat that the same is true (to much lesser degrees) of any starter. “I’m not sure yet. I try to keep in mind, it’s been a long time since Jake’s pitched. So we’ll sit down after every outing and see where we are.”
Take the upcoming schedule as an example: If he stays on turn, deGrom will be penciled in to pitch Sunday against Atlanta, but that is no guarantee. The next turn in the rotation includes an Aug. 11 day off for the team, helpfully pushing deGrom and the others back a day. But then there is an Aug. 12-23 stretch of games on 12 consecutive days (including a doubleheader).
If deGrom can be relied on every five days, the Mets will be in fine shape. If not, they might be in a bit of a bind (never mind what it might mean in the playoffs, when starters sometimes pitch on short rest).
Such is the unknown after deGrom’s year on the injured list with elbow and shoulder problems.
“As far as pitching on his regular turn, that’s to be seen,” Showalter said. “I hope so. We’ll see.”
So long, Jankowski
The Mariners claimed outfielder Travis Jankowski off waivers from the Mets. The Mets, who designated him for assignment last week after acquiring Tyler Naquin, had hoped he would end up clearing waivers and accepting an assignment to Triple-A Syracuse, but the decision-making process didn’t get that far.
With rookie sensation Julio Rodriguez on the injured list, the Mariners’ outfield now includes Jankowski and former Mets prospect Jarred Kelenic.
The Mets signed 19 of their 22 draft picks by the deadline Monday. The top exception: third-rounder Brandon Sproat, a righthander from the University of Florida . . . Trevor May (stress reaction in his right humerus) pitched for Triple-A Syracuse on Saturday and Sunday, as planned, and is penciled in for activation Wednesday . . . A fun fact from first-round draft pick Kevin Parada’s video news conference after signing with the Mets: He took a marketing class at Georgia Tech with former Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira, who went back to school to finish his degree after retiring.