DeGrom, who was supposed to open the season in Binghamton, was instead forced to open instead in St. Lucie due to a broken finger on his non-pitching-hand. DeGrom's finger injury caused him to miss so much of Spring Training, which left him in need of more time to prepare before he could join the team in Binghamton.
"Spring training is really the first time you're getting off the mound and throwing to hitters," deGrom explained, "I think I threw only seven innings in the spring, and the rest was just throwing in the bullpen, and some was without a glove on, which is a really weird thing to do."
After two starts in St. Lucie deGrom headed up to join the club and in his first start at Double-A, the 6-foot-4, 25-year-old right-hander threw eight strong innings and struck out eight Portland Sea Dogs as the Mets lost a tough game 1-0.
"I felt good: all my pitches were working that day," deGrom said of his first start.
"DeGrom, who features an effective fastball, a changeup, and a slider, impressed his manager Pedro Lopez, who was seeing him pitch for the first time.
"[DeGrom] was really impressive for eight innings out there," Lopez added.
Pitching coach Glenn Abbott was impressed by deGrom's first start too and has high hopes for him after seeing him pitch in Spring Training.
"I knew he was good in spring: he would have started with us if not for the setback [with his finger]," Abbott said. "He's pretty solid and has really come along with his stuff, getting better over the last few years, and he's done a good job, throwing a very good changeup, a good slider, and a good fastball, and he's been locating them well too which is impressive for a guy as tall as he is with long arms and legs."
DeGrom, who went 9-3 with a 2.34 ERA in Single-A in 2012, did not have as much luck in his second start, allowing eight hits and six runs [four earned], and walking four over five innings.
"I've never seen him pitch before and it was only his second outing, but it was a tough one," Lopez said.
In his third outing deGrom struggled again, allowing five runs in five and a third innings.
Sitting out with a broken finger was not the first time deGrom has missed time, as he has had to make his way back from Tommy John surgery in the past, but deGrom does not make excuses for anything.
Lopez believed that the weather during deGrom's second start helped to contribute to his struggles, saying that the game was not played in baseball conditions, deGrom would not hear of it.
"Everybody had to play in the same conditions, so that's no excuse. I left some pitches up and they got hit," he said.
Achieving a level of consistency is the top priority for deGrom, who has had two quality starts in his last four games, and Abbott right now.
"My changeup has been really good this year, my slider at times has been good, and that's really what we're trying to work on, getting that more consistent," deGrom said. "I feel very confident with my fastball and changeup, but sometimes I leave my slider up."
The key to further advancement in the Mets organization for deGrom is gaining the necessary experience, finding consistency with his slider, and getting better command of his impressive fastball.
"He has such a good delivery and he learns quickly from his mistakes," Abbott said.
Lopez is also excited about deGrom's potential, saying that while he'll need to see more of deGrom, "(so far) overall, I like what I see."
DeGrom Trying To Get Consistent
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