Mets ace deGrom to make 1st injury rehab start Sunday

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NEW YORK — Mets ace Jacob deGrom is finally ready to begin a minor league rehab assignment.

Sidelined by injuries since last July, the two-time Cy Young Award winner is scheduled to start Sunday night for Class A St. Lucie against the Jupiter Hammerheads. He’s expected to throw about 25 pitches and two innings.

It will be the first competitive outing since spring training for deGrom, sidelined all season because of a stress reaction in his right scapula that caused inflammation.

The announcement Saturday by NL East-leading New York came nearly a year since deGrom’s last major league outing on July 7, 2021. He missed the second half of last season with right forearm tightness and a sprained elbow, then returned in spring training this year and made Grapefruit League starts on March 22 and 27.

But then he was sidelined by the stress reaction and didn’t throw another bullpen until June 4. The 34-year-old right-hander has been facing hitters at the team’s complex in Florida and the Mets said he felt good after throwing 27 pitches to batters on Wednesday.

As he builds up arm strength and stamina, deGrom will need several minor league rehab outings before he’s ready to rejoin New York’s rotation.

“Excited that he’ll be back, when that time comes. But just going to let the player kind of drive the pace and the cadence,” Mets general manager Billy Eppler said.

Eppler likened the process to a typical spring training progression, and manager Buck Showalter said deGrom won’t return until he’s stretched out enough that he could pitch five innings or more.

So the likelihood is deGrom still won’t be back in the big leagues until at least late July, after the All-Star break.

“If you follow the schedule, he’s hit every benchmark and we’re happy with that and we’ll see how he does on Sunday,” Showalter said. “We’ll see if there’s any adjustments to the schedule we have that need to be made. We know where it takes us, but we’ll go outing to outing and see how he feels the next day and obviously talk to Jake.”

Fellow ace Max Scherzer (5-1, 2.54 ERA) is scheduled to return from a strained left oblique muscle Tuesday night at Cincinnati. Scherzer, a three-time Cy Young Award winner, got hurt May 18 against St. Louis and recently made two rehab starts for Double-A Binghamton.

Brian Cashman signs 4-year contract to remain Yankees GM

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SAN DIEGO — Brian Cashman has signed a four-year contract to remain the New York Yankees Senior Vice President and General Manager. The announcement was made during the first day of baseball’s Winter Meetings.

Cashman, New York’s GM since 1998, had been working on a handshake agreement since early November, when his five-year contract expired.

The Yankees were swept by four games in the AL Championship Series and haven’t reached the World Series since winning in 2009. It is the franchise’s longest title drought since an 18-year gap between 1978-96.

Cashman’s main goal during the offseason is trying to re-sign AL MVP Aaron Judge.

Judge hit an American League-record 62 homers this season with a .311 batting average and 131 RBIs. He turned down the Yankees’ offer on the eve of opening day of a seven-year contract that would have paid $213.5 million from 2023-29.

While Judge remains on the market, Cashman was able to re-sign Anthony Rizzo on Nov. 15 to a two-year contract worth $40 million after turning down a $16 million player option.

Cashman has been the Yankees general manager since 1998. He has been with the organization since 1986, when he was a 19-year old intern in the scouting department. In his 25 seasons as GM, the Yankees have reached the postseason 21 times, including four World Series championships and six American League titles.