After tossing 60 pitches in a simulated game today, Jacob deGrom looks likely to be ready for Friday’s season opener. (The New York Post’s Dan Martin was among those to report the news.) While a simulated game isn’t a substitute for a real outing, of course, deGrom’s strong results were encouraging — he didn’t allow a hit against any of the 14 batters faced, and recorded nine strikeouts. Back tightness caused deGrom to leave last Tuesday’s intrasquad game after only an inning of work, leading to fresh questions as to whether or not the Mets ace would be ready for the start of the season.
With the Mets and Yankees squaring off in exhibition action tonight, here are some notes from both Big Apple franchises…
- DeGrom isn’t the only star pitcher showing progress, as Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka looked good during a bullpen session today. Manager Aaron Boone told the New York Post’s George A. King III and other media that Tanaka will likely next face hitters possibly as early as Tuesday, which would mark the first time Tanaka has faced live batters since being hit in the head by a Giancarlo Stanton line drive on July 4. Tanaka fortunately escaped with only a mild concussion, and if he continues to rehab well, Tanaka may end up missing only one start. “It is possible he will be able to start at the back end of the second trip through the rotation,” King writes.
- Aaron Hicks underwent Tommy John surgery last October, but told MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch that his right elbow “feels good right now,” and he is on pace to make the Yankees’ Opening Day roster. Throwing has been a particular source of improvement, as Hicks said “the ball has been coming out really well this past week. I feel like I’ve been able to get a lot more carry on my ball, especially throwing to home [plate].”
- Also from Hoch’s notes piece, Luis Cessa has arrived at the Yankees’ Summer Camp after recovering from COVID-19. The right-hander tested positive before arriving in camp, and went through the standard procedure of a two-week quarantine and two consecutive negative test results before being allowed to join his teammates. Cessa played catch today and will throw off a mound on Monday, though it isn’t yet clear if he will ready for the Yankees’ first game.
- Robert Gsellman has been battling tightness in his right triceps, Mets manager Luis Rojas told MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo and other reporters. While Gsellman has started to play catch off of flat ground, Rojas wasn’t sure if Gsellman would be available for the Opening Day roster. The right-hander has been a workhorse reliever for the Mets over the last two seasons, tossing 143 1/3 relief innings and posting a 4.45 ERA, 2.55 K/BB rate, and 8.1 K/9. Gsellman missed six weeks with a similar injury last season, though Rojas said “there’s nothing of concern as far as past history.”