New York Mets star Jacob DeGrom strikes out five in rehab start with St. Lucie Mets

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PORT ST. LUCIE — On a Fourth of July celebration at Clover Park Sunday night, New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom provided the early fireworks.

A two-time Cy Young Award winner as the National League’s top pitcher (2018, ’19), the four-time All-Star recorded five strikeouts in 1⅔ innings in a rehab assignment for St. Lucie in the Mets’ 8-2 rout of the Jupiter Hammerheads in a Single-A Florida State League game.

New York Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom warms up in the bullpen before pitching against the St. Louis Cardinals in a spring training game on Sunday, Mar. 27, 2022 at Clover Park in Port St. Lucie.
New York Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom warms up in the bullpen before pitching against the St. Louis Cardinals in a spring training game on Sunday, Mar. 27, 2022 at Clover Park in Port St. Lucie.

After a few live batting practice sessions recently, deGrom donned his famed No. 48 jersey – the camouflaged-themed ones worn by the Mets over the weekend -- and hammered the Hammerheads with fireballing velocity in two nearly perfect frames.

Sidelined with a shoulder injury for over three months, the right-hander delivered his first pitch to Jupiter leadoff hitter Osiris Johnson at 100 mph, exciting the hefty turnout of 4,256 fans. He hit 100 on the next two offerings then fanned Johnson on a 94-mph cutter.

He used the same approach on Carlos Santiago, whiffing the switch-hitter on another cutter. After skipping a pitch off the foot of Ian Lewis – his lone mistake – deGrom caught Brady Allen looking at a 99-mph four-seam fastball.

In the second with St. Lucie up 1-0 after an RBI single by William Lugo, the DeLand native and Stetson alum whiffed Zach Zubia and Cristhian Rodriguez – five strikeouts and a hit batsman on 24 pitches, 18 for strikes.

“Even though it was my first rehab start, I had a lot of nerves and was excited to be back out there,” said the 34-year-old deGrom, who last started a regular-season game last July 7.

The butterflies didn’t deter deGrom.

Statcast recorded six of his 24 pitches reaching 100 mph, with one nearly touching 101.

“I felt like I had control of everything – the main thing was trying to locate the fastball and pitch off that. Everything felt good,” deGrom said.

Over three months ago in spring training, deGrom dealt with right shoulder tightness after two starts. The team later discovered he had a stress reaction in his right scapula, shutting him down on March 31.

“It feels 100 percent,” he said. “Because it was bone…you can’t really push it. I had to wait until the bone was healed and move forward from there.”

deGrom said his expects to have at least one more start for St. Lucie.

Winners of the East Division’s first half by 5½ games over Jupiter with a 40-25 ledger, including a 23-6 mark at home, St. Lucie was in total control during and after deGrom’s stint.

The Mets scored seven of their runs in the first four frames for a commanding 7-0 lead. Tzu-Wei Lin provided the other with a solo homer in the eighth, his first with St. Lucie.

Five of the club’s six hits were for extra bases.

Lugo went 2-for-3 with a homer and three RBIs, while Omar De Los Santos and Stanley Consuegra had triples.

During a three-run second inning, St. Lucie took advantage of five consecutive walks from Jupiter starter Sandro Bargallo (1-2), who had seven in one-plus inning pitched.

Dominic Hamel (5-2) took the Mets lead in victories with six innings of two-run, three-hit ball. He fanned six and walked one.

This article originally appeared on Treasure Coast Newspapers: Jacob DeGrom sharp in rehab start for St. Lucie Mets