Mets’ Jacob deGrom kicks off first bullpen session since spring training
LOS ANGELES — Jacob deGrom kicked off his first bullpen session since spring training on Saturday, another milestone in his eventual return from the stress reaction in his right shoulder blade.
He threw 19 pitches, all fastballs, at “moderate intensity,” said general manager Billy Eppler.
The Mets haven’t said when they expect deGrom to face hitters in a live batting practice (and then do the same during a minor league rehab assignment). Players like deGrom, out two months and longer, typically require at least several bullpen sessions — separated by at least a day — before they ramp up the intensity to see the batters.
“Our assessments, in combination with Jake’s feedback, will determine that timeline,” Eppler said.
Manager Buck Showalter reiterated that the Mets will lean on deGrom regarding deGrom’s next steps.
“Just follow the progress,” Showalter said. “He handled that, see how he feels the next day. Are there any residual effects? Let’s go to the next one. Obviously it’s plotted, but the planes still change as you walk through them. He handled everything as well as you could expect.
After taking a few days to report as players are allowed after being demoted, Dominic Smith played his first game with Triple-A Syracuse on Friday. On Saturday, he hit a tying home run in the ninth inning (in a game the minor Mets lost to the Boston branch).
Showalter said Syracuse manager Kevin Boles praised Smith’s “attitude and hard work.”
“He’s after it,” Showalter said.
James McCann (broken left wrist) in the next few days will play dry swings (bat but no ball), Showalter said. He is still at least a few weeks away from his return. . . Showalter on having a three-man bench: “I would rather have four, but we need the pitchers right now, especially on such a long trip and so far from home.” . . . The Mets closed their resort in Port St. Lucie, Fla., over concerns about Tropical Storm Alex, which was in the area, Showalter said.