One thing is certain about Jacob deGrom’s short-term future: He is pitching Tuesday.
The big question that remains unanswered: Will it be for the Mets or some minor league affiliate?
“Whether it’s going to be for us, I’m going to say we hope so,” manager Luis Rojas said before the Mets’ 6-5, 12-inning win over the Marlins on Friday night. “But we want to see this day-to-day. We want to see how he feels and the feedback on how it’s going, and then we can probably say, ‘He’s pitching with us’ or ‘We want to go another way where we want to see another rehab start.’ ”
DeGrom, who is on the injured list with right-side tightness, struck out eight of nine batters he faced Thursday in a Single-A rehab start. He was throwing 102 miles per hour, according to the opposing Palm Beach Cardinals’ Twitter account. Mets pitching coach Jeremy Hefner was in attendance.
“There wasn’t a real plan set,” Rojas said. “It was more like 3-4 innings, however he felt. He said his mechanics felt good throughout. He didn’t feel anything body-wise. Then he threw some more pitches in the bullpen.”
DeGrom arrived in Miami for treatment Friday and is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Sunday. Wasting their ace in the minors would seem like an odd choice for the Mets when they are extra-strapped for offense because of injuries.
“The only thing that will take us that way is if there is something he wants to feel,” Rojas said. “Or something the medical staff wants him to achieve. That’s why we are going with the day-to-day approach. What we don’t want is what happened, what got him on the IL over a week ago. If everything goes accordingly, you may see him pitching in a big-league game on Tuesday.”
Rojas, a former minor league manager, can relate to how the Cardinals’ farmhands felt against deGrom.
“Opposing batters are always aggressive,” Rojas said. “They want to get strike one. The guys at that level are excited they are facing big league pitchers. Jake had his best stuff. Some guys didn’t get hits, but I have to think it was a great experience [for them] to face Jake, the best pitcher in the game, in the world.”
The Mets had not determined their starting pitchers for the final two games of the series, even after Friday’s marathon win ended.
Rojas mentioned Jordan Yamamoto is in Miami from the taxi-squad and that Joey Lucchesi is “fresh” in the bullpen.
“We have guys who can go multiple innings to start a game and we had a bullpen game the other day — but we won that game,” Rojas said. “We want to be in the best position we think to win a ball game.”
Overshadowed by Pete Alonso going on the IL on Friday, reliever Tommy Hunter (lower back pain) also landed on the IL. Yennsy Diaz was recalled from Triple-A. Even the injury replacements are getting injured. Second baseman Jose Peraza left Friday’s game in the fourth inning with a right-calf contusion. His status for Saturday was not immediately known late Friday.
“It got all meat. Thank God no bone or anything,” Rojas said. “He got tight really quick and was struggling to really walk because of the tightness. My recommendation to him was this is going to change your game: Your range is going to be limited, your speed is going to be limited and maybe your hitting, too.”
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