ATLANTA — Jacob deGrom wryly suggested Tuesday that he hasn’t been selected to the National League All-Star team yet, so maybe he doesn’t face much of a choice after all.
But should the pitcher charting one of the best seasons in modern baseball history get chosen to the July 13 All-Star Game in Colorado, he says he won’t participate if the Mets’ blueprint holds and he starts three times to close the first half, including the final Sunday before the break.
“If you get selected it’s obviously a really cool thing,” deGrom told The Post before the Mets opened a three-game series against the Braves at Truist Park. “I’ve been to three and I pitched in all of them, so I definitely had fun doing it, but if I pitched that Sunday there is definitely no way I would do the All-Star Game — it’s my light bullpen day on that day and to come out and get loose it’s definitely not worth it.”
Only reinforcing deGrom’s stance is the fact the game will be held at Coors Field. It was after the Mets’ trip to Colorado in April — in which deGrom pitched the first game of a Saturday doubleheader — the ace says he first started feeling “banged up,” perhaps because of the altitude. A decision was reached after that trip to give deGrom an extra day of rest before his next start. DeGrom in early May was scratched from a start in St. Louis because of lat discomfort and later was placed on the injured list with right side soreness, costing him two starts.
In recent weeks deGrom has been removed early from starts because of elbow and shoulder discomfort. Both times he avoided the IL.
DeGrom indicated he’s unfazed by the possibility of skipping the All-Star Game. He said he hasn’t thought about whether he might attend just to be introduced with the All-Stars.
“The main goal is to win here,” said deGrom, who has pitched to a 0.69 ERA and 0.526 WHIP in 13 starts this season. “I have missed some starts and been beat up a little bit, so I have got three before the All-Star break and one would be that last Sunday so then it’s whether it would be flying out there or not.”
DeGrom also downplayed that he’s scheduled to miss pitching in the Subway Series this weekend — the Mets have him lined up to face the Braves on Thursday.
“These guys are in our division,” deGrom said, referring to the Braves. “So when we looked at it’s my five days and I’ve had a hard time staying on five days this year, so hopefully we have a total of four straight starts every fifth day leading into the All-Star break.”
The Mets certainly have other worthy All-Star candidates from within their rotation if deGrom doesn’t participate. Taijuan Walker and Marcus Stroman have pitched to ERAs of 2.38 and 2.45 respectively.
“[Walker] has been like an ace for us and been like a horse, so he is a guy who should be up there as well to make the team and especially if Jake doesn’t get a chance now,” manager Luis Rojas said. “Marcus Stroman, you have to have to throw his name in there. Those three starters have been huge and they have performed like aces and Jake has got a distance where Jake has been the best in the game, but those other two guys deserve All-Star Game recognition.”