PHILADELPHIA — A bout of strep throat means Jacob deGrom won’t pitch Friday against the Cardinals, and it might cost him a start against the Phillies next week.
Instead, Jason Vargas — previously bumped from Friday to Saturday — moves back to Friday for the series opener in St. Louis. The Mets hope deGrom will be ready to pitch Saturday, but if not, Noah Syndergaard (on regular rest) or Steven Matz (on short rest after throwing just 31 pitches Tuesday) could take his spot.
The Mets initially swapped deGrom and Vargas so deGrom could sneak into the Phillies series at Citi Field next week, plus give Vargas an extra day to try to figure himself out. He retired one batter in his most recent start, Saturday against the Braves.
Now, it’s up in the air. If deGrom remains sick, the Mets could always wait to use him until they get home and face Philadelphia.
Lowrie leaves Mets
Still rehabbing his sprained left knee, infielder Jed Lowrie headed to Port St. Lucie, where he will start taking live batting practice Friday, after traveling with the Mets for the first three weeks of the season.
Callaway said there is no schedule for Lowrie, who turned 35 on Wednesday, to begin a rehab assignment.
“Everything that he could do rehab-wise, he could do here,” Callaway said. “Now that he needs to see live pitching, he had to go down there.”
Needing a fresh arm, again, the Mets called up reliever Jacob Rhame from Triple-A Syracuse, sending Drew Gagnon (97 pitches in relief Tuesday) back to the minors. Gagnon knew that was coming. “Unfortunately, while you’re out there pitching, you know,” Callaway said. “That’s just the reality of it. But he didn’t let it bother him.” … Brandon Nimmo (stiff neck) was unavailable Wednesday. “Not concerned that much at this point,” Callaway said. “We’ll see how he gets through the day. Good thing is we have a day off [Thursday], so that really helps.”