deGrom's 2nd rehab start hits close to home

Mets' ace K's 6 in front of family, friends with Single-A St. Lucie

July 9th, 2022

learned Friday that you can go home again, as the Mets' ace took the mound roughly 20 miles from his hometown of DeLand, Fla., for his first rehab start of 2022.

Pitching with his parents, wife, children and other family members in the stands at Daytona’s Jackie Robinson Ballpark, the two-time National League Cy Young Award winner fired three scoreless innings for the Single-A St. Lucie Mets, taking another step toward a return to the Mets.

deGrom, who has been on the 60-day IL all season with a stress reaction in his right scapula, allowed three hits to the Daytona Tortugas (Reds), striking out six without issuing a walk.

“Coming off the first time in a game, being on a five-day routine -- I felt really good,” deGrom told reporters after his outing. “I was happy to get out there and get three complete innings.”

deGrom grew up less than 30 minutes from Daytona Beach, attending college at Stetson University in his hometown.

“I grew up playing around here," deGrom said. "[I] played some games in college here, so it was really cool how many people came out tonight. It was awesome.”

deGrom told reporters that his fastball command wasn’t as sharp as it had been in his first rehab start last Sunday, yet he managed to throw 29 of his 36 pitches for strikes. His fastball maxed out at 101 mph on Friday night, while his slider sat in the 92-93 mph range, topping out at 94 mph.

In his two rehab starts, deGrom has thrown 4 2/3 scoreless innings and has struck out 11 batters. Of his combined 60 pitches, 47 have gone for strikes.

“It's step by step, but I have been following the process how it was laid out and just trying not to do too much,” deGrom said. “Everything feels good. Pitching my first game in a couple months [last Sunday], I responded really well and was able to go out there and throw three innings tonight. Hopefully, I'll keep moving forward like this and be back in the big leagues before too long.”

deGrom could return to the Major League squad shortly after the All-Star break. He said he expects his next rehab start to come with either Double-A Binghamton or Triple-A Syracuse. The competition should be higher at either of those levels, but for deGrom, the experience of pitching so close to home was one he’ll remember for a while.

“It was really cool, how many people came out tonight,” deGrom said. “Growing up around here, seeing the support from this community is awesome.”