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Pirates send out Chase De Jong to slow down Mets

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The Pittsburgh Pirates will likely have to wait until at least Friday to see Jacob deGrom.

The New York Mets ace is not expected to pitch on short rest Sunday, when the Mets host the Pirates in the finale of a four-game series and the last game before the All-Star Break.

The Mets have yet to announce a starter. Right-hander Chase De Jong (1-3, 5.08 ERA) is slated to pitch for the Pirates.

The teams split a doubleheader Saturday, when Tyler Anderson tossed five solid innings and hit the tie-breaking solo homer in the fifth inning of the Pirates’ 6-2 win in the opener before Jeff McNeil’s two-run single in the first inning of the nightcap gave the Mets a lead they never relinquished in a 4-2 victory.

deGrom and manager Luis Rojas both indicated Wednesday — when deGrom threw 85 pitches over seven innings in the Mets’ eight-inning win over the Milwaukee Brewers — that the two-time National League Cy Young Award winner could make an appearance Sunday.

But given deGrom has never started on fewer than four days rest and the variety of minor injuries he has battled in the first half — he spent time on the injured list with a sore right side in May and left back-to-back starts in June with right flexor tendonitis and a sore right shoulder — Rojas said the Mets were planning as if deGrom wouldn’t pitch again until after the All-Star Break.

“We can have further conversations just to see how he feels about (Sunday), but that’s where we’re leaning,” Rojas said of deGrom, who is skipping the All-Star Game to spend time with his family and rest. “Not to have him (pitch on) short rest, not to (risk) having any type of exposure out there and just prevent anything from happening. We already (had) three things happen this season. It can be a little risky if we push something.”

The Mets and Pirates are scheduled to begin the second half Friday in Pittsburgh.

De Jong earned his second big league win — and his first since Sept. 28, 2018 — last Monday, when he allowed one run over five innings as the Pirates beat the Atlanta Braves, 11-1. The Braves took a 1-0 lead just six pitches into the first before De Jong set down 15 of the final 20 batters he faced.

De Jong made just 10 big-league appearances between wins, a span in which he performed in the minor leagues for three different organizations and spent parts of two seasons in independent ball.

“Three years between major league wins for me — this was a pretty special night,” De Jong said afterward. “To grind through the first, be able to get through that and then cover five and not put a huge burden on the bullpen tonight, that’s what I was really proud of. And then at the end of it, obviously having the win, it’s really special. My boy was in the stands. My wife was in the stands. This was a really special night.”

De Jong allowed four runs in one inning of relief in his lone appearance against the Mets on April 9, 2019, when he was pitching for the Minnesota Twins.

–Field Level Media

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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