Jacob deGrom is back. For real this time, the Mets hope.
DeGrom, in his first action during the regular season since last July 7, struck out five of six batters and threw seven pitches at at least 100 mph in a near-perfect 1 2⁄3-inning, 24-pitch outing for Low-A St. Lucie on Sunday night.
DeGrom, who made two starts in spring training before shutting it down with a stress reaction in his right scapula, hit 100 mph with his first two pitches and 101 with his third against the visiting Jupiter Hammerheads.
DeGrom struck out the first two batters before hitting Ian Lewis with an 0-and-2 pitch. He struck out the next batter on his 18th pitch of the first inning.
In the second inning, the two-time Cy Young Award winner struck out two hitters on six pitches and was removed from the game. The plan was for deGrom to throw 25 pitches. The Mets hope he can return to a big-league mound by the end of the month after three or four more rehab starts.
“It went well,” deGrom said in video posted by SNY. “Everything felt really good. We’ve been working on some mechanical things that I saw were a little off in spring and everything felt like it was in line tonight. Good step and I’m looking forward to getting back out there and helping the team win . . . It feels 100%. Just make sure moving forward that it feels good and continue from there.”
Alvarez in Triple-A
The Mets made it official Sunday, promoting top catching prospect Francisco Alvarez from Double-A Binghamton to Triple-A Syracuse.
That puts Alvarez, 20, one rung from the majors. Speculation has been that the Mets could consider calling up the power hitter less as a catcher and more as a designated hitter if he continues his sparkling offensive play at Triple-A.
As one of the youngest players in Double-A, Alvarez hit .277 with 18 home runs and 16 doubles in 67 games. He reported to Syracuse on Sunday but was not in the lineup.
Alvarez still is considered a work in progress behind the plate, but Mets fans are understandably geeked about his progress at the plate.
When asked about Alvarez on Sunday, Buck Showalter gave a lengthy answer that seemed to indicate that he is not yet convinced Alvarez is ready to be the impact bat the Mets need.
“I leave that in Kevin Howard and Billy’s and them’s hands,” he said, referring to director of player development Kevin Howard and general manager Billy Eppler. “The coaches and managers there. Obviously look at it because they’re wearing our uniform and are part of it. I can tell you about just about all the players there in Binghamton and Syracuse and St. Lucie. Why wouldn’t you?
“But if and when I talk to anyone about a player, I ask them how they’re doing defensively and what kind of teammate they are. The statistical stuff, that takes care of itself. That’s easy. It’s the other stuff that’s really a difference-maker.
“The offensive part of it is still the biggest jump in professional sports. The hitting from minor leagues to the majors, it’s the biggest jump. That’s why college football, guys are All-Pro the first year. It’s a big jump, but tackling’s tackling. The NBA, guys come out of high school and play in the NBA. Baseball’s different. The biggest jump is the level of pitching you face from the minor leagues to the big leagues. It’s a huge step.”
The Mets placed David Peterson on the paternity list and recalled righthander Colin Holderman from Syracuse . . . Travis Jankowski (fractured hand) is taking batting practice and could begin a rehab assignment later this week, Showalter said.