MIAMI – The closer Jacob deGrom gets to Tuesday night the more he can expect to feel like a rookie again.
“The nerves haven’t started yet,” DeGrum said Sunday after manager Buck Showalter officially announced that the right-handed Mets’ return would happen Tuesday as the starting captain in Washington. “But I’m sure I’m going to be pretty nervous and have a feeling it’s going to feel like my debut, so I’m definitely excited.”
The two-time Cy Young award winner was last seen riveting the Mets in spring training, before he was diagnosed with a stress reaction in his right shoulder. His last regular season appearance came on July 7, 2021 – being sidelined for the entire second half of last season due to elbow and forearm ailments.
Nearly a month after starting minor league rehab, DeGrom has created as many as 67 stadiums. The expectation is that it will extend into the 80-pitch range against the Nationals. DeGrom’s final outing for Triple-A Syracuse was cut short by leg cramps.
DeGrom was asked if there are any preventative measures he can take to ensure his arm remains healthy.
“Just go out and do something normal,” he said. “Go out there and leave everything on the field. You play the game the way you have always played and do your best to do your best to stay healthy and leave everything there and try to help the team win.”
In assessing the cause of the stress reaction, Degrom said ramping up training too quickly in the spring may be a factor. DeGrom also checked his mechanics.
“In 2018 and 19 I felt at my best mechanically and took the time to watch these videos and try to get back there,” Degrom said. “I’ve noticed that I’ve been a little straighter and tend to first base in my followers more than I’ve been in those years, so with this time to work on things. I feel like I’ve put my mechanics back where I want them to be.”
DeGrom said he missed the match while he was away and hopes he can help the Mets continue their journey by finishing first in the NL East.
“Personal goals are personal goals, but this is a team game and the ultimate goal is to win the World Championship,” Degrom said. “It was fun to watch these guys go out there and compete, but it was so much fun to go out and compete with them.
“In 2015, when we got to the World Championships and got a little excited, it was one of the most fun games I’ve had playing baseball, so hopefully I can get back out there and win the whole title this year.”
In spring training, Degrom indicated that he plans to withdraw from his contract after the season. Has anything changed about that plan?
It’s still the same,” Degrom said.