More pitching, more problems.
The threat of injury might be the only downside of possessing the Mets’ stockpile of young arms, an inconvenient truth they again are facing now that ailing Jacob deGrom has been scratched from his scheduled start Wednesday.
Right lat tightness, which the Mets insist is relatively minor, is behind the first missed turn of the season. The Mets said the move is precautionary.
“I woke up and felt quite a bit better,” deGrom said Sunday, two days after being pulled from the home opener after 76 pitches. “We’re pretty happy with how it’s improving.”
But the Mets aren’t satisfied enough to run deGrom out there Wednesday against the Marlins, Terry Collins said, especially with frigid April weather turning Citi Field into a well-appointed icebox.
“It’s improved but not enough,” Collins said. “He felt better, just not where we need to have it.”
Logan Verrett will start in deGrom’s place. Unexpected assignments are nothing new for the righthander. He was 1-1 with a 3.63 ERA in four spot starts last season, which included a strong effort against the Rockies in Colorado in place of Matt Harvey.
Verrett made the roster after pitching to a 1.15 ERA in spring training, though the main reason for carrying him was his track record for stepping in on short notice.
“I feel good going into this one,” said Verrett, who has been available out of the bullpen but hasn’t seen action since an April 1 exhibition against the Cubs.
The Mets have made a habit of downplaying injuries. But deGrom, 27, is not scheduled to undergo any tests, including an MRI, which would be a red flag for a larger problem. Instead, he will rest in the hope of missing only one start.
The lat issue is the latest in a string of dings and dents for deGrom, who also was sidetracked in spring training with tightness in his thigh and back. The righthander also has pitched without his typical fastball velocity, though Collins believes the dip is a function of last season’s career-high workload (216 innings), not fallout from injury.
“His arm’s still trying to bounce back from last year,” Collins said, reciting his oft-repeated theory on the matter.
DeGrom will remain with the Mets until he’s summoned to Florida, where his wife, Stacey, is five days past her due date with the couple’s first child, a son.
“We’re still waiting on that call,” said deGrom, who intends to be present for the birth.