Jacob deGrom, New York Mets
(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

After battling lower back stiffness, it seems like New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom may finally be on the right track.

Things are looking up for Jacob deGrom and the New York Mets. After battling back stiffness earlier this Spring, deGrom took a major step in the right direction today. With pitching coach Dave Eiland watching, the right-hander tossed 30 pitches in a simulated game and looked every bit as advertised. Both deGrom and Eiland were extremely encouraged by his dominance and progress.

The simulated affair drew quite the crowd, including former skipper Terry Collins. deGrom was true to form, overmatching Dominic Smith, Tim Tebow, and Juan Lagares.

In talking to the press, Eiland admitted he wasn’t sure whether deGrom would wait a full five days for his next session, or proceed in four. If it were to be four, that would indicate that deGrom was slated to appear against the Yankees in Tampa Bay. Obviously, the thought of a long bus ride brought up concerns of reaggravating his lower back stiffness. Eiland poked fun and had this to say when asked about it:

“He can go the night before,” Eiland told John Harper of the New York Daily News. “He can stay at my place. I’ll drive him to my house — it’s about 20 minutes north of that stadium. I’ll make sure he gets a good dinner. My wife will cook for him.

He can use my bed. My wife and I will go sleep somewhere else, and we’ll make sure he’s comfortable. If we decide he can pitch on his fourth day.”

With Opening Day a little over three weeks away, the main goal is to get deGrom on regular program and keep him healthy for the start of the season. Arguably the Mets’ most important and reliable pitcher over the last few seasons, 2018 will hinge greatly on deGrom’s ability to stay out on the field.

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