deGrom to pitch tonight for Single-A St. Lucie

July 3rd, 2022

NEW YORK -- Jacob deGrom’s seemingly everlasting rehab is nearing an end. The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner is scheduled to begin a Minor League rehab assignment Sunday at Single-A St. Lucie, marking his first game action since Spring Training.

deGrom is slated to throw two innings and around 25 pitches. Although the Mets remain tight-lipped about deGrom’s timeline, team officials have said in the past that they anticipate the right-hander needing three to five rehab starts. General manager Billy Eppler compared it to a typical Spring Training ramp-up, which would put deGrom on track for a return by the end of the month, if not just after the All-Star break.

“He’s hit every benchmark, and we’re happy with that,” manager Buck Showalter said. “We’ll see how he does on Sunday, and we’ll see if there’s any adjustments to the schedule we have that need to be made. We know where it could take us.”

deGrom’s rehab assignment will begin almost exactly one year after his most recent Major League outing on July 7, 2021. Following that game, deGrom began experiencing his first bouts of elbow discomfort, which cost him the rest of that season. He was healthy enough to make two Grapefruit League starts this spring, but shoulder discomfort toward the end of March triggered another MRI, which revealed deGrom’s latest ailment: A stress reaction in his right scapula that has sidelined him since.

From there, a slow progression has led to this point. deGrom began throwing off flat ground in early May, and then off a mound in early June. He most recently threw three live batting practice sessions before team officials cleared him to begin a rehab assignment.

“Every day that we can check a box off is a day that we feel better and clearly a day closer,” Eppler said. “The fact that he’s able to meet these goals and standards is keeping us optimistic and on course.”

Whenever deGrom returns, the Mets will be eager to welcome back a player who has produced a 1.94 ERA in 91 starts over the past four seasons. Only injuries have been able to slow deGrom, who won the Cy Young Award in 2018 and ’19.

By the time deGrom arrives, he should be able to slot back into a rotation that also includes a healthy Max Scherzer and Chris Bassitt. The former is set to come off the IL on Tuesday in Cincinnati, after missing seven weeks due to a left oblique strain. The latter will return once he’s cleared from the COVID IL.

Those three will form the core of the Mets’ second-half rotation, along with some combination of Taijuan Walker, Carlos Carrasco and David Peterson.