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Jacob deGrom still doesn’t look like the Mets’ Opening Day starter

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Opening Day might not be a given for Mets right-hander Jacob deGrom, who’s slowly working his way back from a bout of back stiffness in camp. The righty tossed a bullpen session on Sunday in preparation for an upcoming simulated game later this week, but the current rate of his recovery process suggests that he’ll only be able to make four Grapefruit League starts before the start of the season, well under the 5-6 outings every other starter is expected to make. And that’s if everything goes according to plan.

The 29-year-old righty avoided any major injuries during his 2017 campaign with the Mets. He went 15-10 in 31 starts with a 3.53 ERA, 2.6 BB/9 and 10.7 SO/9 in 201 1/3 innings and earned Cy Young consideration at the end of the season. It was the first time he’d logged over 200 innings in a single season, something he might do again in 2018 if his rehab doesn’t cut into the regular season too much.

Still, the Mets have every right to be cautious as they return from an injury-plagued season, one in which they lost Noah Syndergaard to a torn lat, Matt Harvey to a stress injury in his shoulder, Zack Wheeler to a stress fracture in his arm and Steven Matz to elbow surgery. Given that deGrom was often the healthiest starter in the rotation last year, rushing him back to make the ceremonial first start of the year seems imprudent. At least, that was the sentiment expressed by pitching coach Dave Eiland following the right-hander’s latest workout. “With Jacob deGrom, we will not make an exception,” he told reporters Sunday. “That’s stupid. We’re not going to be careless just so he can pitch Opening Day.”

Blue Jays place Aaron Sanchez on 10-day disabled list

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The Blue Jays placed right-hander Aaron Sanchez on the 10-day disabled list with a contusion in his right index finger, per a team announcement on Saturday. The assignment is retroactive to Friday. In a corresponding move, righty Marcus Stroman was activated from the DL (right shoulder fatigue) and will take the mound for the Blue Jays at 9:07 PM ET tonight.

Sanchez, 25, is in his fifth season with the club. He hasn’t looked his sharpest so far this year, going 3-5 in 15 starts with a career-worst 4.52 ERA, 5.1 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 through 79 2/3 innings. It’s not yet clear how long he’ll be sidelined, though he could miss as little as one turn in the rotation before returning to the roster in the next week or two.

Sanchez isn’t the only struggling starter in Toronto’s rotation, either. Per MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm, the team placed southpaw Jaime Garcia on the DL (right shoulder tenderness) as well, with lefty reliever Tim Mayza scheduled to take his spot on the roster. In 13 starts this season, Garcia carried a 2-6 record, 6.16 ERA, 4.5 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 over 61 1/3 innings. Any further decisions pertaining to the rotation — including Tuesday’s starter against the Astros — have yet to be publicly addressed.