Well aware that a forced vacation might be looming, righthander Jacob deGrom worked the dugout Friday night, his last-gasp attempt to convince the Mets that he'd be better off pitching as scheduled Tuesday.
"So how's Tuesday looking?" deGrom asked more than once of Dan Warthen, to which the pitching coach replied, "We'll see, we'll see."
"I guess we've seen now," said deGrom, who will be scratched.
Rookie Logan Verrett will fill in instead, just as he did earlier this season when Matt Harvey was skipped.
When deGrom pitches again remains up in the air.
Manager Terry Collins said he could be skipped in the rotation altogether or simply pushed back a few days.
Either way, the Mets believe deGrom, 27, can use the break, which would refresh his arm and sharpen his command. The pitcher insists he feels no fatigue.
"I don't know if I necessarily need it but it can't hurt," deGrom said. "I don't think it can hurt. That's what they chose to do, so that's what we're going to do."
With the Mets still comfortably ahead in the National League East, they have managed their pitchers' workloads more aggressively. Though deGrom entered the season with no innings limits, Collins believes extra time might tighten the command that has eluded the righthander in his recent starts.
"Right now, he's getting fly balls because everything seems to be moving up," Collins said. "That just to me dictates that even though the velocity's still good, the release point needs to be under control a little bit more. I think he showed us last year when he had a little rest, boy, he bounced back and pitched great."
Last season, deGrom spent a few weeks on the disabled list with fatigue in his shoulder. By his own admission, he came back more refreshed. But though the Mets have been quick to draw parallels, deGrom maintained that he views this season differently.
"I felt really good after that, which I think I needed that time last year," he said. "There was some shoulder fatigue going on there. But like I said, this year I feel fine. I think it will just be this one."
Even Collins admits that deGrom's stuff and velocity appear normal. But the manager cites what has been a clear downturn. In his last five starts, deGrom has allowed 19 earned runs in 262/3 innings (a 6.41 ERA). Opponents are hitting .330 against him during that span, perhaps the worst of his season.
"I've been more up in the zone than I want to be," said deGrom, who was torched for six runs in his last outing against the Marlins on Tuesday. "Normally, I pitch down and then go up when I want to. I [wasn't] able to get the ball down in my last start, like I normally do. I'd like to say it was just one start. But I don't think I'm tired. I think I'm all right."
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