deGrom on track to return after simulated game

Mets right-hander slated to pitch Sunday against Braves

April 19th, 2016
Jacob deGrom threw 71 pitches on Tuesday. (AP)

PHILADELPHIA -- Jacob deGrom threw 71 pitches Tuesday in a simulated game, putting him on track to return to the Mets' rotation Sunday in Atlanta.

The simulated game, deGrom's third workout in Florida since straining his right lat muscle April 8, came on the heels of two bullpen sessions in Port St. Lucie, Fla. DeGrom has been commuting to and from the Mets' Spring Training complex as he cares for his wife and newborn baby in DeLand, Fla., about a two-hour drive away.

Because of complications with his son's birth, the Mets placed deGrom on MLB's family-emergency list last Saturday, but the baby was doing well enough by Monday to leave the hospital for the first time.

For deGrom, that means a return to business, and the Mets are eager to have him back. So rather than wait until Monday, which would have been deGrom's next turn in the rotation, the Mets decided to slot him into their rotation against the Braves. That means that everyone else will start with extra rest -- including Noah Syndergaard, whose next start will come Monday at Citi Field on two extra days, rather than Sunday in Atlanta.

Logan Verrett, who got the start Tuesday in Philadelphia, has been filling in for deGrom in the rotation. He will return to the bullpen upon deGrom's return.

The Mets have said in recent days that deGrom's lat injury, which they once considered serious enough for a potential disabled-list stint, is fully healed. The situation with deGrom's son superseded a DL stay anyway, prompting him to go 15 days between starts.

In his only start so far this season, deGrom held the Phillies to one run over six innings despite reduced velocity. The Mets will be eager to see how his arm responds after the long layoff.

The Mets' full, updated rotation is as follows:

Wednesday, at Philadelphia:Bartolo Colon

Friday, at Atlanta:Matt Harvey

Saturday, at Atlanta:Steven Matz

Sunday, at Atlanta: deGrom

Monday, vs. Cincinnati: Syndergaard