The Mets are taking Jacob deGrom’s one-inning, 45-pitch outing Sunday and turning it into lemonade.
DeGrom will slot back into the rotation ahead of other pitchers — but on normal rest — Friday against the Diamondbacks at Citi Field. He’ll be followed Saturday by Steven Matz, who gets pushed back another day, and Sunday by Noah Syndergaard.
Among the benefits of splitting up deGrom and Syndergaard, the two starters who are the safest bets to pitch deep into the game: A better chance of resting the bullpen.
“We were looking for that opportunity,” manager Mickey Callaway said. “The 45-pitch inning gave us that opportunity.”
DeGrom’s funky month includes a four-inning, injury-shortened start May 2. He missed a start with a hyperextended right elbow, then threw 45 pitches in a scoreless inning Sunday in Philadelphia before being lifted.
Lefthander Jason Vargas, whose spot in the rotation the Mets skipped Tuesday, instead threw four innings and about 80 pitches in a simulated game at Citi Field, facing Mets batters including Jay Bruce (back from the paternity list) and Todd Frazier (on the disabled list).
“It was definitely a productive day,” said Vargas, who has a 13.86 ERA and 2.68 WHIP in three starts.
Vargas said in addition to simply getting work in during a long layoff — he last pitched May 8 and won’t pitch again until May 21 or 22 — he was trying to execute pitches better in important (simulated) situations.
“We won’t know (if it worked) until we get back out there,” Vargas said. “These are the things that we’re doing so we don’t have to think when I’m out there.”
Matz joined Vargas in the sim game, tossing 37 pitches in two innings. He was originally scheduled to start Wednesday, but was bumped to Friday by a rainout over the weekend and bumped again to Saturday by deGrom slotting in ahead of him. He’ll pitch on eight days rest.
The Mets made a flurry of roster moves Tuesday afternoon, placing Jerry Blevins on the paternity list, optioning Corey Oswalt to Triple-A Las Vegas and recalling Jacob Rhame and Buddy Baumann from Las Vegas. Oswalt, a starter who was available out of the bullpen, spent a week with the major-league team but did not pitch. Rhame is a reliever by trade . . . Playing against Canada’s only MLB team Tuesday and Wednesday, the Mets are flying a Canadian flag alongside the United States one. They also played the Canadian national anthem pregame . . . Prior to Tuesday’s game, the Mets played a tribute video for Blue Jays outfielder Curtis Granderson, who played for the Mets from 2014-17.