Jacob deGrom pitched for the first time since the close of his Cy Young season, and the New York Mets are a bit worried about how hard he’s throwing.
The team opened training camp this week and played its first Grapefruit League games over the weekend. The start on Sunday went to deGrom, who gave up a run in one inning of work and admitted that he’s still got some work to do. Though he may have had some rust to kick off, deGrom was able to hit 97 miles per hour with his fastball, a speed that drew a bit of concern from manager Mickey Callaway.
As the New York Post reported, Callaway acknowledged that pitchers can be a bit anxious to get back on the mound in spring training and that it can be difficult to control their velocity. Though deGrom’s fastball regularly reaches the high 90s during the season, it’s not normally that high to start February games.
“I’m sure [Monday] it’s going to be 100 and I am going to be panicking,” Callaway said, referring to the game that Noah Syndergaard will be starting to begin the week.
“But that’s who these guys are, they are such competitors, and their arms are ridiculous. They are not overthrowing to go get that, it’s nice and easy, but it still scares a manager or pitching coach when you see that velocity.”
Jacob deGrom has been trying to keep the magic he found last season when he had a stellar 1.70 ERA. He started playing catch in October, which the New York Post noted was much earlier than normal for him and hoped to be able to keep the same arm mechanics that he had in 2018.
But the hard-throwing start to spring training seems to have caused some worry within the New York Mets, who are likely worried about deGrom suffering an injury after an already busier-than-normal offseason.
"We tell him to go out there and pitch better than he did [last year]. You always want to improve, right?"— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) February 24, 2019
Sunday, Jacob deGrom began the process of trying to better last year's near-perfection:https://t.co/yy9MJJNIGE pic.twitter.com/V6WpfXr5nT
The Mets have been in negotiations to lock deGrom down for a long-term deal, but the clock appears to be ticking to get anything done. As ESPN reported earlier in the month, the team will shut down talks if no deal is reached by opening day. The 30-year-old deGrom will make $17 million in 2019 and is under team control through the 2020 season. As the report noted, deGrom had already discussed limiting his workload as the 2019 season goes on if he doesn’t land a long-term deal, making sure he protects his ability to land the mega-deal he’s sure to get.