NEW YORK (AP) — Trying to make a push in the crowded NL playoff race, the New York Mets plan to skip struggling right-hander Jacob deGrom the next time through the rotation.
The team said it hadn’t decided who will start in deGrom’s place Monday night against Miami, another club in the wild-card hunt. New York manager Terry Collins rattled off five potential candidates Friday: Sean Gilmartin, Seth Lugo, Logan Verrett, Gabriel Ynoa and Rafael Montero.
The latter three are in the minors. Lugo, who earned his first major league win Thursday night at St. Louis, would have only three days of rest after throwing 82 pitches against the Cardinals. He exited with cramping in his right calf but was fine by Friday, the Mets said.
The 2014 NL Rookie of the Year, deGrom is 7-7 with a 2.96 ERA in 143 innings. He had been on an extended roll, lowering his ERA to 2.29, before getting rocked for 13 runs and 25 hits over 9 2/3 innings in his last two outings, against San Francisco and St. Louis.
The Mets say deGrom has responded well to time off in the past and they think a brief break will help him correct a mechanical flaw they’ve discovered in his delivery.
Still, the move was somewhat surprising considering the defending NL champions already were piecing together the back end of a banged-up rotation.
Steven Matz, sidelined with tightness in his pitching shoulder, was scheduled to toss on the side Friday and general manager Sandy Alderson said he was unsure if the lefty would be ready to start Tuesday, the first day he’s eligible to come off the disabled list.
In other news, second baseman Neil Walker was activated from the paternity leave list and was set to bat cleanup against Philadelphia in the opener of a 10-game homestand. Walker and his wife, Niki, welcomed a baby girl
To open a roster spot, New York optioned infielder T.J. Rivera to Triple-A Las Vegas.
Right fielder Jay Bruce was back in the posted lineup after missing Thursday night’s victory in St. Louis. Bruce left Wednesday night’s game with cramping in his right calf.
Collins said the Mets wanted to put Bruce through some pregame drills Friday to make sure he was healthy enough to play.
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