LOS ANGELES – Just as Jacob deGrom was on the precipice of a return to the Mets, his comeback has hit at least a slight delay.
The right-hander experienced “mild muscle soreness around his shoulder,” the Mets said on Tuesday, the same day that deGrom was originally scheduled to throw a simulated game that could have been the final step of his rehab assignment.
Instead, that simulated game has been pushed back to Thursday “out of an abundance of caution,” according to the team. In the meantime, deGrom played catch on Monday and Tuesday “without issue,” the team said.
Coming back from a stress fracture on his right scapula that has sidelined him since spring training, deGrom had made three rehab starts on a regular schedule. In his most recent start with Triple-A Syracuse last Thursday, deGrom threw four innings of one-run ball while building up his workload to 42 pitches.
DeGrom’s next start was supposed to be Tuesday. It was going to be a simulated game in Port St. Lucie, Fla. with all levels of the organization on the All-Star break – which would have potentially set him up to make his season debut Sunday against the Padres or next Tuesday against the Yankees if everything had gone according to plan.
But the Mets, who have treated deGrom’s comeback with caution and patience, decided to err on the safe side again.
Even without a single pitch from deGrom this season – and nearly seven weeks without co-ace Max Scherzer because of an oblique injury – the Mets entered the All-Star break atop the NL East at 58-35.
The 34-year-old deGrom, meanwhile, is expected to opt out of his contract after this season as long as he makes a handful of starts.