New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom will reportedly make his 2022 season debut Tuesday against the Washington Nationals after recovering from a shoulder injury.
Anthony DiComo of MLB.com reported the Mets' plans Saturday, noting the two-time NL Cy Young Award winner will be on a "strict pitch count" in his first start.
DeGrom was putting together one of the best pitching seasons in MLB history last year—1.08 ERA and 0.55 WHIP in 15 starts—before landing on the injured list in early July because of an elbow problem. He ended up missing the remainder of the campaign.
The 34-year-old right-hander returned for the start of this year's spring training before going back on the IL with the shoulder injury that forced him to miss the season's first half.
His minor league rehab assignment was full of promising signs as he compiled a 2.84 ERA with 21 strikeouts in 12.2 innings across four outings.
"[Rehab] hasn't been that much fun," deGrom told reporters after a July 14 start. "Trying to stick to the process. You want to be up there helping the team. ... With this injury it was cut and dry how you got to take this amount of time and slowly work your way back."
Now he'll rejoin the Mets rotation alongside Max Scherzer (2.09 ERA), giving the club the unquestioned best one-two punch in baseball if they both stay healthy down the stretch.
New York was able to weather the storm without him. It sits atop the NL East with a 62-37 record, three games ahead of the reigning World Series champion Atlanta Braves (60-41).
The timing of deGrom's return paired with Scherzer's scheduled start Monday against the Nats means both aces are lined up to start during next weekend's crucial series against Atlanta.
If the Mets can hold off the Braves, their other focus over the final few months of the regular season will be trying to chase down the Los Angeles Dodgers (67-32) for home-field advantage in the NL playoffs. They currently face a five-game deficit.
For now, New York has to focus on wrapping up a three-game road series against the Miami Marlins. Carlos Carrasco and Taijuan Walker will take the mound for the weekend tilts.