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Mets may shield Jacob deGrom from Nationals

Starting pitcher Jacob deGrom held the Astros to

Starting pitcher Jacob deGrom held the Astros to one run and two hits in four innings on Tuesday in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Credit: AP/Lynne Sladky

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Jacob deGrom turned in another strong, if unremarkable, Grapefruit League outing on Tuesday, holding the Astros to one run and two hits in four innings. Across three appearances, he has a 1.00 ERA, striking out 16 and walking one in nine innings.

Now comes the trickier part: His last two starts of camp are scheduled for days when the Mets play the Nationals, deGrom’s Opening Day opponent. Will the Mets let him pitch in both games, or hide him in the backfields for the sake of a potential competitive advantage?

On Sunday, deGrom indeed will face Washington, manager Luis Rojas said. That is the day the Mets plan to start letting their pitchers hit in games.

But Rojas left the door open for deGrom to get his final spring-training tune-up in an intrasquad scrimmage instead of facing the Nationals on March 26, a night game at Clover Park.

"I feel like if we can get the work done and not give them an extra look, then it only benefits the pitcher," deGrom said. "The more looks a batter has against you, the hitter has seen you more, it’s a positive for them, not necessarily for me."

Carrasco clears a checkpoint

Carlos Carrasco crossed an important threshold Tuesday by completing a bullpen session, his first since being delayed by a sore right elbow.

Up next, according to Rojas: Facing Mets hitters — in a simulated game or live batting practice — on Thursday.

"He felt great," Rojas said.

Hello, again

An announcement from the Nationals late Monday night made it official: The Mets will play in front of fans — up to 5,000 — on Opening Day, April 1 in Washington.

"It's going to be good for the guys to have live fans again," Rojas said. "It's going to be a special day. It's been a year since we've had fans at a big-league field during the regular season. We expect that to be a fun day."

The Mets have not revealed their plans for having fans in attendance. The home opener at Citi Field is April 8.

Extra bases

The Mets optioned righthander Sam McWilliams and outfielder Khalil Lee to Triple-A Syracuse . . . Catcher Tomas Nido (left foot contusion) is scheduled to return to the lineup Wednesday . . . The Mets finally offered measurements for top shortstop prospect Ronny Mauricio: 6-2 and 211 pounds. Last year, he was listed at 6-3 and 166 . . . There was a small fire outside Clover Park on Monday, a day off for the Mets, after someone threw a cigarette into woodchips, a witness said. A stadium staffer put it out quickly with a fire extinguisher.

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