Jacob deGrom can kiss his hitting days goodbye — at least for now.
The Mets’ star right-handed pitcher will still make his start as scheduled Monday after an injury scare in which he hyperextended his right elbow on a swing last Wednesday — but he won’t be swinging the bat for the foreseeable future.
“We haven’t even discussed it, [but] no, he will not,” manager Mickey Callaway said Saturday before the Mets hosted the Rockies at Citi Field. “I haven’t told him that, but no. There’s really no reason to.”
It was deGrom’s swing and miss against Braves starter Sean Newcomb in the third inning that led to the injury. His right arm felt sore, and he figured he wouldn’t swing the rest of the night, but after he went out and pitched the top of the fourth, the pain spread to his biceps and his outing ended abruptly.
A subsequent MRI exam and doctor’s evaluation calmed the Mets’ worst fears, as they showed there was no structural damage to deGrom’s elbow.
On Saturday, deGrom threw a bullpen session and got the green light to go ahead with his next start Monday.
“He felt great,” Callaway said. “No issues whatsoever.”
But deGrom won’t need to get in the batting cage anytime soon.
The former college shortstop was hitting .143 (2-for-14) this season and .190 across five seasons in the big leagues. He hit one home run last June against the Nationals at Citi Field, but those days are over for a while.
And if Callaway had his way, deGrom wouldn’t be the only Mets pitcher banned from taking any hacks.
“If it were up to me, the guys would never take BP, they’d never swing in the game,” Callaway said. “We don’t need their spot in the lineup to score runs. And if we do, we’re not going to win anyway. At this point, I think it’s better off that he just go up there and bunt and get guys over, things like that.”
In 17 plate appearances this season, deGrom has put down two sacrifice bunts, struck out five times and walked once.
While deGrom was not available to reporters in the clubhouse Saturday afternoon, he joked Thursday he would solve the issue by not swinging and missing — though he said he wouldn’t stop taking batting practice. He won’t have to worry about that anymore.
Entering Saturday, Mets pitchers were batting .148 (9-for-61) with two walks, 31 strikeouts, five sacrifice bunts, one RBI and two runs scored. Zack Wheeler led the way with a staff-high three hits in nine at-bats while Noah Syndergaard had the lone extra-base hit, a double.
Callaway did not say the swinging ban would be put into effect for the rest of the pitching staff, though he made it clear he would if it were his decision. It was not clear who had the final say on that matter.
The first-year manager, who spent his entire major league playing career pitching in the American League and stayed there for his first coaching job with the Indians, is firmly in the pro-DH club for the National League.
Still, Saturday marked another hurdle deGrom cleared to further ease the minds of the Mets’ staff and front office. An injury that could have been disastrous will instead be just a hiccup on the way to deGrom making his next start as scheduled.
“Obviously he’s very important to us and it’ll be nice to have him out there Monday pitching,” Callaway said.
Just not swinging.
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