CHICAGO — Jacob deGrom’s potential final buildup before rejoining the Mets is scheduled for Tuesday.
The Mets ace will throw a simulated game in Port St. Lucie, Fla., manager Buck Showalter said Saturday. Previously, pitching coach Jeremy Hefner said the plan was to stretch out deGrom to about 60 pitches.
If deGrom comes through his simulated game without incident, it’s possible he will be inserted into the Mets rotation, with July 24 (versus the Padres) and July 26 (Subway Series) the leading candidates for his return. But the Mets haven’t committed to anything, in the event it’s determined deGrom would benefit from an additional rehab start following his simulated game.
DeGrom, who is returning from a stress reaction in his right scapula, threw 42 pitches Thursday for Triple-A Syracuse in his third rehab start.
Dominic Smith was expected to receive imaging on his right ankle after he departed in the 10th inning of the Mets’ 2-1, 11-inning victory over the Cubs in Game 1 of their doubleheader sweep Saturday. Smith, who began the inning as the automatic runner at second base, was retreating to the bag when he twisted his ankle.
Jeff McNeil will start at second base for the NL — replacing the Marlins’ Jazz Chisholm Jr. — in the All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday night. McNeil will be the first Mets player to start in the All-Star Game since 2013 at Citi Field (Matt Harvey and David Wright).
“It’s been a pretty fantastic week,” said McNeil, whose son, Lucas, was born on Wednesday. “The birth of a son and then making the All-Star team and then All-Star starter.”
Showalter was asked if he could identify the Mets’ first-half MVP.
“It’s been a sum of the parts so far and it’s going to continue to be if we want to get where we need to go,” Showalter said. “Sometimes that sum of the parts is in Syracuse. It’s like starting pitchers: They pitch every fifth day, but they can impact the team on the other four days with some of the things they do. Even the things someone on the bench allows us to do in the game, only because we have the safety net of that person there. It’s all part of the process.
“When you would have to have that strong of debate it kind of tells you what your mode of operations have been.”
The Mets have five players (Pete Alonso, Starling Marte, Brandon Nimmo, Francisco Lindor and McNeil) with 80-plus hits this season. The Blue Jays were the only other team in the major leagues, entering Saturday, with five players at that level.
Five MLB teams were without a player who had reached 80 hits.