ATLANTA — Both Jacob deGrom and Steven Matz threw off a mound Saturday, a sign that both are moving closer to a possible return to the starting rotation.
DeGrom (forearm tightness) threw at Turner Field before the Mets’ game against the Braves. For Matz (shoulder impingement), his work came at the team’s complex in Port St. Lucie, Florida. Both were considered light sessions.
“We’re taking it day-by-day right now, and today was a step forward,” said deGrom, whose throwing consisted of 10 pitches off the mound in his tennis shoes. “I’m feeling good. The main thing is to see how it reacts tomorrow.”
In 24 starts, deGrom has posted a 3.04 ERA, a figure that rose after three straight ineffective starts led to concerns about fatigue and ultimately a shutdown because of his forearm issue. Matz has a 3.40 ERA in 22 starts despite pitching with a painful bone spur.
The Mets’ chances of finishing off their playoff run would only increase with the rotation closer to full capacity. Nevertheless, deGrom praised the rookie duo of Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo, who have emerged as capable fill-ins.
“That’s kind of how I got my chance, making a start for somebody,” said deGrom, who parlayed a 2014 call-up into stardom. “They made the best of it and they’ve done a great job keeping this team in ballgames and giving us a chance to win.”
Though encouraged by his progress, deGrom said he must resist the urge to push for his return, with the Mets locked in a wild-card battle with the Giants and Cardinals.
“I want to be out there definitely,” deGrom said. “But at the same time, I’ve got to be smart about it, make sure that I am feeling fine before I go back out there.”