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Jacob deGrom hasn’t ruled out Opening Day start for Mets

The righthander’s initial spring training start has been delayed by lower back stiffness.

Jacob deGrom throws live batting practice on Feb.

Jacob deGrom throws live batting practice on Feb. 17 in Port St. Lucie, Florida. Photo Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — The competitor in Jacob deGrom wants to be ready to pitch for the Mets on Opening Day. But the realist in deGrom admits that might not be possible.

Still, the righthander isn’t giving up hope that he can be considered for the season-opening assignment on March 29 against the Cardinals at Citi Field.

DeGrom took his first step on Wednesday when he threw what he called “a modified side” at First Data Field. DeGrom’s initial spring training start has been delayed by lower back stiffness. Manager Mickey Callaway said deGrom might not be ready for the first week of the season.

“Definitely want to be ready for that,” deGrom said. “I think the thing is to be smart, though. If I wasn’t ready the first week or so and then healthy for the rest of the year, then that’s what it has to be.”

But that doesn’t mean deGrom doesn’t want the Opening Day start.

“Definitely,” he said. “Definitely. I think if things keep going smooth, I don’t think there’s a reason that I shouldn’t be ramped up enough. I think if everything goes as planned, I should be able to get ready.”

The important thing is deGrom said he felt “great” after throwing off a mound for the first time in spring training.

“No problems,” deGrom said. “I think my next step is to throw an actual bullpen [session]. We’ll see what day that is. But everything feels good.”

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