The Mets are inching ever closer to having their dynamic 1-2 punch of Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom.
With Scherzer scheduled to return to the mound on Tuesday, deGrom took a step forward in the right direction on Sunday in his first minor league rehab start, striking out five of the six batters he faced for Class A St. Lucie.
DeGrom touched 100 mph on the radar gun and allowed just one baserunner, which came via hit by pitch, and threw 18 of 24 pitches for strikes over 1.2 innings.
“I felt like I had control of everything — the main thing was trying to locate the fastball and pitch off that. Everything felt good,” he said, via MLB.com. “[My shoulder] feels 100 percent. Because it was bone…you can’t really push it. I had to wait until the bone was healed and move forward.”
The 34-year-old two-time Cy Young Award winner has not pitched at all this season due to a stress reaction in his right scapula, which occurred after two spring training starts in March.
In fact, it has been nearly a year since the last time he pitched in a MLB game, July 7, 2021. He missed the second half of last season with right forearm tightness and a sprained elbow.
DeGrom will still need to build up his innings over several more rehab starts before he returns, but his most recent outing is certainly reason for optimism.
If the Mets can have a healthy deGrom and Scherzer in their rotation, who have five Cy Youngs between them, it would give them one of the best pitching staffs in all of baseball.
As of Monday morning, the Mets led the Atlanta Braves by 3.5 games in the NL East and had the second-best record in the National League behind the Dodgers.
“No one wants to miss time, we all want to be out there competing,” deGrom said. “It’s really tough. You want to be up there and help your team.”