Mets RHP Jacob deGrom, who threw 30 pitches during two innings of a simulated game on Tuesday morning in Port St. Lucie, will make his first Grapefruit League start on Sunday.
DeGrom said after Tuesday's simulated game that he was "very encouraged."
"Definitely good to have hitters in there, and throw with them in there and not feel anything," deGrom said. "The goal is to feel good and that's what happened today."
With deGrom on an every-fifth-day schedule, it would put him on track to start the second game of the season on Saturday, March 31 against the Cardinals at Citi Field.
DeGrom said Tuesday that it would be an honor to start on Opening Day, but that he's looking at the big picture.
"The goal is to be in the World Series, so there's some more starts there."
Mets pitching coach Dave Eiland said Saturday that the team wouldn't make an exception for deGrom in order to have him ready for Opening Day. That means deGrom will have to make five starts before being declared ready (with Tuesday's simulated game counting as one).
Danny Abriano, SNY.tv | Twitter |
During this process, it seems like the Mets have been absurdly cautious with deGrom -- perhaps because of what transpired last season with Noah Syndergaard. At the same time, deGrom throwing the simulated game on Tuesday instead of an actual game could have had more to do with the Mets' starting pitcher for Tuesday (Jason Vargas) already being penciled in than it had to do with deGrom's readiness.
In any event, deGrom said last Wednesday that he sees no reason why he wouldn't be ready for Opening Day if he continued with his throwing progression without incident. And so far, that's what has happened. But if the Mets aren't making an exception for deGrom -- and need him to make five starts before the season -- the math doesn't add up.
DeGrom had advanced to 40 pitches during his most recent bullpen session, but threw only 30 pitches during his simulated game. He should now be able to toss two or three innings in his first Grapefruit League start -- which would put him nearly on the same track as the rest of the expected members of the starting rotation.
Forgetting all the hysteria over deGrom's potential readiness for an Opening Day start, the only thing that truly matters is that he seems to be healthy. And whether or not he starts the first, second, or fifth game of the season is of almost no consequence.