Jacob deGrom took another step — maybe the last step — Wednesday afternoon toward a return to the Mets.
After deGrom pitched to mediocre results with Triple-A Syracuse in his fifth rehabilitation outing, manager Buck Showalter said that the Mets plan for the injured ace’s next outing to be with the major-league team.
That is subject, as always, to the whims of deGrom’s physical state when he wakes up each morning, Showalter cautioned. But that nonetheless lines deGrom up to pitch Monday (regular rest) or Tuesday (extra rest) or Wednesday (extra, extra rest) when the Mets visit the Nationals.
“We hope his next outing is with us. We’ll see,” Showalter said, adding later: “The plan right now, if everything progresses well, is [for deGrom] to pitch for us next time. But that can change by what we hear tomorrow or the next day. That’s the plan right now. We’ll see. We’ll see where we slot that out, if that is the case.”
Working his way back from a stress reaction in his right shoulder blade that has kept him out all season, part of a series of injuries that have left him on the sideline for more than a year, deGrom threw 67 pitches across four innings in his minor-league appearance Wednesday. Based on his workload in his previous outing, he was due for about five innings and about 75 innings. But he fell short of those marks after early troubles.
“It’s good to see him get almost 70 pitches,” Showalter said. “That was a good sign.”
His outing seemed to be split in half: the first two innings, when he walked three batters (and struck out five) and allowed four runs on a pair of homers, and the last two innings, when he retired six batters in a row on 20 pitches. There was action in the Syracuse bullpen as deGrom labored through a 30-pitch second inning, but he managed to settle in.
DeGrom’s fastball was sitting at 95-97 mph, according to the Syracuse broadcast. He had been at his usual triple-digit heat in previous appearances.
Showalter indicated he had an idea why deGrom struggled but declined to elaborate until he saw how deGrom feels Thursday.
“He’s fine,” Showalter emphasized. “His arm felt good. He felt good. All the things that we would be concerned about from the injury he had — none of that was there. So his arm felt really good.”
The Mets will keep their rotation in order against the Marlins this weekend: Chris Bassitt (against Sandy Alcantara) on Friday, Carlos Carrasco on Saturday and Taijuan Walker on Sunday.
That sets up Max Scherzer and deGrom to pitch, in some order, in Washington. The Mets also can slot in David Peterson, who has been working out of the bullpen.
Trevor May (stress reaction in his right humerus) also pitched for Syracuse, allowing one run and one hit in one inning. He is scheduled to pitch Saturday and Sunday, the back-to-back appearances potentially his last hurdle before he gets activated . . . Showalter on Pete Alonso: “He’s been a very consistent competitor. He never wavers from that. I didn’t realize how good he was, to be honest with you. He’s a special performer.” . . . With less than a week until the trade deadline Tuesday, executives begin to stop lying to each other and start the real negotiating, Showalter said. “When I don’t see Billy [Eppler] for a couple of days, I know he’s grinding,” he said. “When I’m driving home late at night, he’s a one-ring guy. If he doesn’t pick it up, it means he’s on the phone with somebody. Billy is grinding it, as is the whole front office.”