S T. LOUIS – New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom could return to the mound Sunday against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Citi Field.
DeGrom had a sore back muscle after his last outing against the Boston Red Sox on April 28 and was pulled from a scheduled start against St. Louis on Tuesday night. He said he intends to throw balls Thursday and hopes to get the go-ahead for a bullpen session on Friday.
Mets manager Luis Rojas said a successful bullpen on Friday would put deGrom on track to start Sunday.
“I was a little more sore after my last outing. I didn’t think much of it,” deGrom said Wednesday. “I noticed that my mechanics weren’t working. I watched part of the video and got some of the numbers, and my arm was down a little bit and … flying wide open. So obviously that’s going to put more strain on my arm.”
Rojas said a scan Tuesday showed inflammation of the latissimus dorsi muscle, a muscle in the back that connects the upper arm to the spine and hips.
“I feel good now. The plan is to see the doctor again tomorrow and let him reevaluate,” deGrom said. “It’s in a good spot, I guess. If it crawls into the armpit, then it’s not good, but the spot is definitely manageable.”
DeGrom said he threw a bullpen last weekend in Philadelphia and first informed training staff of the problem Monday. He contacted the team on Tuesday after he woke up and the pain had not been relieved. The Mets later removed him from their start, but the game was rained out and rescheduled as part of a doubleheader Wednesday.
DeGrom, a two-time National League Cy Young Award winner, has been the most dominant pitcher in baseball this season, posting a 0.51 ERA in five starts, the best in the majors. He has 59 strikeouts in 35 innings with just four walks. Still, he’s only 2-2.
The 32-year-old right-hander has hit 100 mph on 46 of 473 pitches this season and cut his career ERA to 2.55, beating Hall of Famer Tom Seaver (2.57) as the Mets’ career leader.