Matt Harvey has looked like only a watered-down version of himself. Jacob deGrom’s fastball has yet to emerge from its winter slumber. Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz have already endured elbow scares, though they turned out to be false alarms.
Yet, general manager Sandy Alderson on Wednesday warned against what he called “supersensitivity” about the young arms in the vaunted starting rotation.
“We can’t always respond to every little thing that is theoretically out of sync,” said Alderson, specifically referring to deGrom’s drop in velocity from 95 mph last year to an average of 92.5 mph. “If he were down, if he were experiencing discomfort, didn’t have life, didn’t have command, didn’t have a variety of other things, then you start putting the data points together and there’s a bit more to work on and probably a little more reason for concern. But at this point, I don’t think we’re there with deGrom.”
While deGrom has routinely said that diminished velocity has made his starts mental battles, Alderson noted that the righthander has a 2.50 ERA. The GM disputed the notion that deGrom is a different pitcher without his velocity.
“I think it introduces an issue in his mind that he has to address and that we have to address, but I don’t think that fundamentally makes him a different pitcher,” Alderson said. “First of all, we’re only eight weeks into the season. So, we’ll see how that plays out.”
Nevertheless, manager Terry Collins hopes to give deGrom an extra day off by bumping his scheduled start back to Saturday with Matz rejoining the rotation on Friday.
“You could just tell he wasn’t putting guys away like he usually does,” Collins said of deGrom.
Matz got a cortisone injection for his sore elbow/forearm that cost him his last scheduled start on Saturday. The lefty is scheduled to throw a bullpen on Wednesday in preparation for a Friday start.
“It’s definitely a big relief getting that MRI back and knowing everything is good,” said Matz, who was examined on Monday. “But we were optimistic from the beginning. It was just a little soreness, a little discomfort, and it was just good to get the MRI and have that peace of mind that nothing’s wrong.”
Travis d’Arnaud’s DL stint doesn’t appear to be ending any time soon. The catcher has returned to California to work with the personal trainer he uses in the offseason, Alderson said. The catcher is down with a strained right rotator cuff . . . Zack Wheeler is on target for a July 1 return from Tommy John surgery, though Alderson hinted that date could be pushed back.