Robert Aitken Jr., NorthJersey.com Published 2:45 p.m. ET June 12, 2021 | Updated 2:54 p.m. ET June 12, 2021
NEW YORK — Jacob deGrom put another scare to Mets fans when he left Friday’s start against San Diego with tendinitis with a one-hitter across six innings and 80 pitches. The ace of the Mets pitching staff arrived Saturday and played catch in the outfield.
The Mets gave deGrom an MRI on Saturday, revealing no damage and confirming the diagnosis of tendinitis.
“We did an MRI this morning just out of precaution and it came back as we expected, clean,” said manager Luis Rojas. “We’re just taking it day by day.”
The team will monitor deGrom daily to see his status. His next turn in the rotation would be on Wednesday against the Cubs, but the team has that spot officially marked as TBA for now.
There remains an ongoing concern for deGrom despite his record-shattering 2021 performances. His ability to throw fastballs with such force, as well as his hitting ability that is rare for a pitcher, could both be putting an additional strain on deGrom that most pitchers are not dealing with.
Across ten starts, deGrom averages just under 84 pitches per start with a season-high 109 pitches thrown in a complete game shutout on April 23. So even when deGrom does take the mound again for the Mets, don’t be surprised to see earlier exits from the multiple-time Cy Young Award winner.
“We think of all the force he generates when he throws the fastball,” said Rojas. “That’s why sometimes he comes out with a low pitch count and it’s because of precaution. We want to have Jake the entire season. We already lost him for a stint and we don’t want to do that again.”
Billy McKinney shattering expectations
It hasn’t even been three weeks since Billy McKinney was acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers for much-needed outfield help and offensive boost. McKinney has been able to provide both of those things and then some, batting over .300 and driving in 12 runs in 43 at-bats as a Met. McKinney’s four home runs in 13 games with the Mets is already more than he had with the Brewers across 40 games earlier this season.
“Whatever you put him in, he’s responded really well for us,” said Rojas about McKinney. “He’s just been outstanding and defensively, he’s been great.”
McKinney has carved out a good spot for himself in right field for the Mets, so much so that he should remain in the fold even when the ailing Mets outfielders return. Rojas spoke Saturday about the desire to get McKinney some play in center field, perhaps when Michael Conforto returns to the lineup. Conforto was among the Mets players on the IL running the bases Saturday to test out his ailing hamstring.
The biggest shock for McKinney’s play has been his ability to perform well against left-handed pitchers, something that he hasn’t performed as well with historically.
“I think everything that’s happening with him right now also has a lot to do with the playing time,” said Rojas. “A lot of these guys, when they don’t play every day, they just try to do too much. Just to be there every day gets to slow things down for you. You can focus a little more on your approach as a whole.
Robert Aitken is a sports reporter for NorthJersey.com. For full access to live scores, breaking news and analysis from our Varsity Aces team, subscribe today. To get breaking news directly to your inbox, sign up for our newsletter and download our app.
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