WASHINGTON – Jacob deGrom’s plan is to take the ball for his scheduled turn in the rotation Monday, but he isn’t so sure about hitting.
After throwing a pregame bullpen session Saturday at Nationals Park, the Mets ace – who departed his last start Wednesday after only three innings because of right shoulder discomfort – said he expects to pitch in turn unless he wakes up Sunday with soreness.
DeGrom’s theory is that he aggravated the shoulder during an at-bat Wednesday against the Cubs, on a swing and miss before he delivered an RBI single that raised his batting average to .423.
“I normally get sore back there when I pitch, but not during the game,” deGrom said on his 33rd birthday. “I think I aggravated it and then I was feeling it when I was on the mound, so I felt like that was the right move to say something. Feeling it throwing is not ideal – I didn’t want to change any mechanics and end up injuring something else.”
DeGrom was asked how he will approach hitting.
“I guess I will have to take,” deGrom said.
Told he could bunt, deGrom quipped: “It depends on where they put me in the lineup, too. You don’t want to bunt in the four-hole.”
As much as deGrom loves to swing the bat, he realizes his primary purpose is to shut down the opposition.
“The main thing is to be healthy and be out there on the mound,” said deGrom, who leads MLB with a 0.54 ERA. “It’s probably not smart to go out there and swing like I have been swinging.”
Manager Luis Rojas wouldn’t officially say deGrom will take his next turn in the rotation. Rojas said the Mets are still taking the situation “day by day.” Among the possibilities is the Mets could push back deGrom, who last week underwent an MRI exam that showed a “clean” shoulder.
DeGrom had also received an MRI exam following his previous start, which he departed with right flexor tendonitis. That also showed no structural damage. Last month, deGrom missed two starts on the injured list with right side soreness.
He was asked if he should consider just backing off for a start or two this time around to ensure he’s healthy.
“That was a discussion,” deGrom said. “But after going through and getting images on it, seeing the spot it was in and how it’s responded the past couple of days I decided to try to proceed as normal.”