Jacob deGrom said he feels “completely normal.”
The right-hander said the stress reaction in his right scapula is no longer bothering him. Soon, he will be back on the mound, although the Mets’ ace didn’t have an exact time frame for that. But he is making progress toward returning to the team.
“So far, everything has felt good,” deGrom, a two-time Cy Young award winner, said in his first public comments since Opening Day. “I feel completely normal.”
DeGrom, who last pitched in a regular-season game on July 7, 2021, said Saturday before the Mets faced the Phillies at Citi Field that he long-tossed from 135 feet on Friday. The next step is getting on the mound and, at some point, making a few rehab starts in the minor leagues. DeGrom said he believes he will need to work up to four innings before being ready to start a game for the Mets.
“I don’t really have any [apprehension] after talking to doctors and stuff,” he said. “Normally, bone heals stronger. The last report was good, and they said it was completely healed. So now, just make sure it handles the throwing and that nothing pops up. The way it’s gone so far, I feel great.”
The Post’s Jon Heyman recently reported that the Mets were eying a late-June return for deGrom, which is approximately four weeks away. When asked when he expects to be back, deGrom said he isn’t thinking that far ahead. He is more focused on the day-to-day of his rehab. For now, he doesn’t believe he has to undergo any further MRI exams, barring a setback.
“It’s just checking off each of those boxes along the way,” said the 33-year-old. “Everything’s felt good, so I’m sure that’s going to be a discussion in the next couple of days, when I get [on] the mound.”
DeGrom recently moved his workouts up north so he could be closely monitored by Merts officials. He will travel with the Mets on their upcoming Southern California trip, which will begin Thursday following the current six-game homestand. DeGrom has dealt with various injuries since the start of last season, but he insisted that won’t make him gun-shy or worried about suffering any further ones.
“You can’t go out there in fear. You do your best to prepare and go out there and play the game,” he said. “I don’t think many guys go out there and are scared of getting hurt. You go out there and compete, and you leave it all out there.”
Despite deGrom’s nearly season-long absence, and the recent oblique strain Max Scherzer sustained that will keep him out up until July, the Mets own the largest divisional lead in all of baseball. Entering play Saturday, they were 7 /₂ games ahead of the second-place Braves. So far, they are surviving without their two aces.
“I’ve watched very closely,” deGrom said. “It was exciting watching them [from far] and then being here watching them play last night. I’m ready to be back out there.
“When you’re trying to decide whether to come back too early or not, you kind of look at the long term,” he added. “The team’s been playing really good and you want to be there throughout the end of the year.”