Mets’ Jacob DeGrom slowly working back to normal workload

Jacob deGrom, who made his 2022 debut just over three weeks ago, has now appeared in five games since a stress reaction in his throwing arm sidelined him for the first 102 games of the season. It’s natural, therefore, to wonder when the Mets ace will get back into a regular schedule without limitations — especially with the playoffs on the horizon.

“We’ll cross that bridge when we get there,” deGrom said after an 87-pitch effort in the Mets’ 3-1 win over the Rockies on Thursday night at Citi Field. “How I felt after I went to 95 in Atlanta, I think we’re checking off all the boxes and it’s leaning in that direction. It’s just how it’s scheduled and we have off days you got to work with, you got five guys who are throwing the ball very well.

Jacob deGrom is working toward getting back into his full form.

“It’s kind of just staying in the routine right now and the hand we’re dealt. We’ll just see, whenever that time comes, how many days in between until I throw.”

The slow and careful approach is understandable when it comes to deGrom, who has been eased back into his usual work load out of an abundance of caution. After all, deGrom experienced a minor setback in July when he felt mild muscle soreness around his shoulder. His last outing came last Thursday against the Braves, so deGrom pitched on two extra days of rest against Colorado.

The next step will be for the Mets to take the training wheels off deGrom’s outings and let the two-time Cy Young winner go all out. Mets manager Buck Showalter did say he won’t go off a pure inning or pitch count.

“I didn’t want him to go out there and throw five or six pitches or seven or whatever,” Showalter said before declining to get into specifics about what went into the decision to take deGrom out when he did Thursday night. “I thought he was getting there in the [sixth] inning, for one thing. Obviously, we get input from him. We know when his next start is, hopefully. So all those factors figure into it. During the course of the day, things that go on, knowing where we are in our bullpen and what we can do.

“I can rattle off a lot of [the factors], but it doesn’t mean that you’re always going to make the right decision. You take it all in and try to move with it.”

DeGrom said he thought he would be allowed to go as long as necessary and to 100-plus pitches in his next outing. The last time deGrom reached 100 pitches was when he clocked in at 109 on April 23, 2021, which was also the only game he threw over 100 balls last year.

“A guy like Jake, I wouldn’t preclude anything like that happening,” Showalter said. “It’s not a pure pitch count, it’s kind of your eye test. Kind of watching, seeing him. I lean a lot on him, number one.

Number two is [pitching coach] Jeremy [Hefner], who has a lot more familiarity with him than I do. Whether it be the trainers or anybody, but once you get out there between lines it’s about pitching and getting people out.”

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