Jacob deGrom remains on track to start Monday against the Reds after a successful bullpen session Saturday, but there’s a catch: He won’t swing the bat when he’s at the plate.
“There’s really no reason to,” said manager Mickey Callaway, a supporter of the National League adopting the designated-hitter rule. “If it were up to me, the [pitchers] would never take BP and never swing in the game. We don’t need their spot in the lineup to score runs, and if we do, we’re not going to win anyway. At this point, I think it’s better off that he just go up there and bunt and get guys over, things like that.”
DeGrom left his start Wednesday after four scoreless innings with a hyperextended right elbow. He said he initially felt the discomfort during a whiff while batting, and it has happened before.
An MRI showed no ligament damage. DeGrom has been able to fully prepare for his next outing.
“He felt great,” manager Mickey Callaway said. “No issues whatsoever.”
Righthander Anthony Swarzak played catch Saturday at Citi Field, his first time doing so without pain since suffering a left oblique strain more than a month ago.
Still weeks away from a major-league return, Swarzak was enthused by the step forward and will head to the Mets’ minor-league complex in Port St. Lucie, Florida, Sunday to continue his rehab.
“This is a really, really good day,” Swarzak said. “I got to play catch for the first time today. Like a real baseball player.”
Swarzak tried to play catch last month, but suffered a setback when the oblique issue, which involves his rib cage, was not sufficiently healed.
The Mets added Swarzak with a two-year, $14-million deal in December to help fortify the back end of the bullpen, but he missed much of spring training and has pitched in only two regular-season games due to health issues.
“[The bullpen] can be better and it will be better when he comes back,” Callaway said. “A time frame with him, there’s no telling. It all depends on how much arm strength he feels he lost and what he feels he needs to get comfortable to come back and be competitive at the major-league level.”
Yo knows (how to throw)
Yoenis Cespedes had another outfield assist Saturday, getting Noel Cuevas at home plate in the ninth inning.
It was his team-high fourth of the year. Cespedes’ 67 outfield assists since 2012 (his rookie season) are most in the major leagues in that time period.
Also Saturday, Cespedes stole second base for his third of the year.
That matches his total from 2016 and 2017 combined. Cespedes stole a career-high 16 bases in 2012.