Jacob deGrom didn’t look like his usual dominant self during his fourth rehab start on Wednesday with the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate in Syracuse.
Over four innings and 67 pitches, the two-time Cy Young Award winner was tagged for four runs on a pair of round-trippers while striking out six and walking three.
It’s believed that if all goes well, his next start will be with the Mets for his next turn in the rotation. After a five-day rest period, that would mean either Monday or Tuesday in Washington, D.C. against the Nationals.
“We’re gathering the information,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said. “I know [pitching coach Jeremy Hefner] talked to him after the game. They were walking some before the game. It was good to see him get to almost 70 pitches. That’s a good sign.
“We’ll get our arms around it in the next day or so. But we hope that his next outing will be with us… The plan if everything goes well is for him to pitch for us next time out. That could change tomorrow or the next day, but that’s the plan right now. We’ll see.”
Showalter maintained that there was no concern about the results of deGrom’s outing, whether it was the four runs allowed or the fact that his fastball was topping out between 95 and 98 mph rather than the usual 98 to 100 mph.
“After we get our arms around how he feels physically, I’ll be able to give more about where some of that came from,” Showalter said. “He’s fine, his arm felt good. All things that you’re concerned about, we wouldn’t be concerned about… his arm felt really good.”
When deGrom’s time to return to the hill does come, it will have been over a calendar year since he last pitched in a major-league game for the Mets. After elbow issues cut his 2021 season short, he was shelved just before the start of the 2022 campaign due to a stress reaction in his right scapula.
The long layoff will naturally create questions about just how effective — or dominant — the 34-year-old right-hander can be for the stretch run. His addition will be considered an enormous acquisition for a Mets team that could not only use starting pitching depth but could suddenly boast one of the very best rotations in baseball if deGrom performs anywhere near the way he did from 2018-2021.
“You all know him better than I do,” Showalter said when asked about what he could expect from the star hurler upon his return. “I got to see him pitch from the dugout with the team I was a part of in the spring. That was the first time I really got to see what everyone had been talking about.
“Ask me, hopefully, in a week or so. But when you pitch at the level he’s pitched at, I don’t know. I can’t sit here and say I know. It’s going to be fun to find out.”
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