Mets ace Jacob deGrom says he’s feeling great but knows he needs to play it safe

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NEW YORK — Jacob deGrom found himself in a familiar situation, surrounded by reporters before a game at Citi Field. The ailing pitcher, who’s been working his way back from a stress reaction in his right scapula, wasn’t gearing up for a start. But he was fielding questions for the first time since the start of the season.

“I feel completely normal,” the sidelined ace said before Saturday’s Mets' game against the Phillies. “I think that’s where it’s gonna be like do we push it? Do we not? That’ll be the discussion over the next few days. And when we get on the mound, what is the safest way to go about this?”

DeGrom threw out to about 135 feet off flat ground on Friday. The Mets haven’t discussed when he’ll begin throwing off a mound just yet, he said, stressing the importance of not doing too much or getting too far ahead.

“It’s just checking off each of these boxes along the way and everything felt good,” he said. “I’m sure that’s gonna be the discussion over the next couple days of when do we get on the mound.”

DeGrom speculated his last MRI, on May 16, was the last he’ll need as he continues to make his way back from the shoulder injury, which put a smile on his face. DeGrom had three MRIs over the span of six weeks.

“Normally bone heals stronger, so the last report was good and they said it was completely healed,” he said.

He also said he felt “pretty normal” and “didn’t really notice it with everyday activity” at least a couple of weeks after injuring his scapula. DeGrom also explained that when he did start feeling better, he kept in mind he needed to “be really careful with not doing too much” to ensure the bone doesn’t getting re-injured and healed properly.

At this juncture of his return from injury, the training staff have been monitoring how his scapula handles throwing, making sure there are no setbacks or other issues popping up. There’s also no timeline for deGrom’s return to the big league mound, or even when he’ll be able to slide in for minor league starts.

“But the way it’s going so far, I feel great,” deGrom said.

There are still only guesses being made about how the stress reaction even cropped up. DeGrom again said he thought it was because of the short ramp up time combined with his being so removed from pitching competitively. He last pitched on July 7, 2021, a seven-inning, 10-strikeout effort against the Milwaukee Brewers.

But the rehab hasn’t stopped him from still watching his team from afar, and as of Friday, from the best seat in the stadium. That the Mets, as of Saturday before first pitch, were first in the NL East and fourth in MLB at 30-17, has made him that much more excited to return safely.

“Like I said, ready to be back out there,” deGrom said.

“The team’s been playing really good and you wanna be there through the end of the year. So, it’s like I said, trying to walk that fine line being safe and not trying to do it too quick.”