By Arnie Leshin
If all goes according to the plans of New York Mets first-year manager Buck Showalter, it will be the 34-year-old righthander’s first start since July 2nd of 2021 when long-time manager Showalterwas still in retirement and home raising a family.
And so despite making his way to an array of managerial stops in both leagues, this is Showalter’s initial stay in the borough of Queens after once managing the New York Yankees in the Bronx.
And it’s no surprise that he’s been successful. It’s been that way for him since turning 65 early in July. He has that experience, that wisdom, knows the rules of the game like he was born with them, and has always been respected by the players and the umpires.
Now he has the Mets at 17 games over .500, on a current 7-game win, with a record 64th seasonal win Sunday to sweep the Marlins in Miami as they flew into the national’s capital to catch the Mets’ one-punch who will go back-to-back via the Max (Scherzer) and Jacob show for the first time this campaign.
It worked slightly last year until he and his other Cy Young Award winner teammate Scherzer both came down with arm injuries from the shoulder to the elbow and close-by that area, as in deGrombecoming sidelined in spring training this time by a stress reaction in his right scapula.
While the 38-year-old Scherzer made it back to the mound after his dismal early season troubles last time, deGrom sat it out, thus it will be more then 13 months since he has thrown in an official MLBgame.
deGrom missed the second half of last season due to right forearm tightest and a sprained elbow.
So Scherzer the righty goes tomorrow, Monday, at Washinton. deGrom will take to the hill Tuesday, and it at least will be the dynamic duo the Mets and their devoted fans have waited for.
Reached in Miami after he hung around the New York clubhouse and dugout before sweeping the Marlins Sunday, deGrom appeared relaxed, said he might be a little nervous, and was anxious to get out there and pitch for this team.
“Despite us holding on to our lead in the National League East,” he said with a smile, “I owe it to us to keep us up there. I’ve been out, yes, but I’m happy with the way our pitchers, both starters and relievers, have been so far. Now if they can make a little space for me, I’d welcome the chance to out there with them.”
While first hanging out with the team when the San Diego Padres were at Citi Field the last four games, he threw only slightly on the pre-game sidelines with his teammates. Back in early May, he was able to work only two frames because of right biceps inflammation.
After that, he made three injury rehabilitations appearances in the minors. He threw 34 pitches over one and 2/3rdinnings on July 3, and 36 over three frames on July 8. Both were for Class A Port St. Lucie teams. On Sunday July 14, he threw over four innings at Triple A Syracuse.
“I felt relaxed,” he said, “No aches or pains, just felt loose. Was slightly wild at times, but quickly threw some good stuff around the plate, and my fastball, curve and change-up worked well with my slider.”
So after the stint at Syracuse, Showalter confirmed that the next time deGrom hurled, it would be with the Mets in a big league game.
“Dandy,” were deGrom’s first words.
As for New York veteran righthanded reliever Trevor May, he’s been healing from shoulder and elbow problems and threw 14 pitches Sunday during a one-inning appearance for double-A Birmingham, allowing one hit and striking out one. He has not pitched for the Mets since May 2.
Showalter said May will pitch on back-to-back days in the minors before he is activated.