Sports · August 1, 2022

Jacob deGrom will start for the Mets on Tuesday

After what must have been a 391-day wait, one of baseball’s top pitchers should finally culminate in a major league game. Jacob deGrom, a two-time winner of the National League’s Cy Young Award, which he last pitched for the Mets on July 7, 2021, will make his return from injury Tuesday night against the Nationals in Washington.

In the 2021 season, in what seemed like his best year, deGrom missed the last three months due to an elbow injury in his throwing arm. He referred to spring 2022 training in health, but a few days before the start of the season he landed back on the injury list, this time with a stress reaction to his right shoulder blade.

Finally sane and armed with a plan to stay sane, deGrom met with reporters Sunday before his seasonal debut. He told them it “didn’t take long” for his shoulder to feel good again, but that he and the Mets training staff took a deliberate approach to rebuild it.

“We looked at why we thought it happened with the rapid rise,” he said, alluding to the delayed and protracted spring training caused by the employment dispute between the owners of Major League Baseball and the players union. “We played it safe by taking extra days and making sure everything was where we wanted it. In this way, there were no setbacks. “

DeGrom, who averaged 1.08 over 92 innings last year, told reporters he was confident he could stay healthy for the rest of this season. He added: “Everything healed and I felt good throughout the whole process.”

He also reiterated his expectation that he would exercise the opt-out clause in his five-year contract extension of $ 137.5 million, setting aside the $ 30.5 million due in 2023 for the possibility of getting a bigger deal.

DeGrom, 34, returns to a Mets team that remains in first place in the NL East after a 9-3 win over the Miami Marlins on Sunday, but which has seen his lead over reigning World Series champion Atlanta Braves shrink to three matches.

First baseman Pete Alonso, who picked up his 85th run on Sunday, was a positive point in attack and the Mets welcomed their other ace when Max Scherzer returned from the injury list in early July. But even with the things getting together for the team, the front office, which has added some minor bits, may be back up and running before Tuesday’s MLB trading deadline.

“Definitely excited,” deGrom told reporters. “It’s been a long time. This has been a pretty slow process to get back. Excited to be out there. Nerves haven’t gotten into it yet, but I’m sure I’ll be pretty nervous on Tuesday and have a feeling it will feel like my debut.