Spring Training started out a little rocky for the Mets right-handed pitcher Jacob deGrom, but his bounce back from a minor bump in the road was something only he could pull off.
Jacob deGrom left Mets camp for a couple of days at the start of Spring Training for the birth of his second child, Anniston. He returned to Port St. Lucie, not even a week later, with complaints of stiffness in his lower back. This threw his entire spring schedule off, making his chances of starting Opening Day very slim.
Since then, it has been announced that Noah Syndergaard will take the mound on Opening Day at Citi Field with deGrom pitching game 2 of the regular season.
DeGrom took things easy for a couple of weeks, starting with a 20 pitch bullpen, then a 40 pitch bullpen, followed by a simulated game, and finally making his Spring Training debut on March 11th. This was almost two full weeks after other starters like Harvey and Syndergaard made their debuts at the end of February.
The right-hander faced the Astros in his first start of the spring. He offered up a perfect, three strikeout, first inning and hit 96 on the radar gun, as reported by Anthony DiComo of MLB.com.
During the start, that lasted 2 2/3 innings, deGrom gave up two hits and two runs to Houston, but was ultimately pleased with his first real performance of the spring, and didn’t feel as if he was too far behind his fellow starters.
Five days later, The Baltimore Orioles rolled up to First Data Field, and would become deGrom’s next set of victims. Only starting for the second time, deGrom pitched 5 innings and racked up 8 strikeouts. Just a regular day at the office for deGrom. He thought his curveball felt the best it ever had during that outing.
DeGrom’s third outing of the spring was forced to happen during a minor league scrimmage due to a scheduled Mets off day. He needed to face 5 batters, of which all were retired, in order for him to reach 15 pitches in the first inning that he needed to throw.
DiComo also reported that runners needed to be put on base in order for deGrom to pitch out of the stretch, but he did away with them quickly, picking two runners off at second base.
His next spring effort will likely be on Monday, March 26 before his first start of the regular season.
Back stiffness seems to be a thing of the past for Jacob deGrom. With a short but dominant spring coming to an end, he looks like he hasn’t missed a beat. Mets fans should be excited for what Jacob deGrom looks like he is about to accomplish in 2018.