deGrom able to focus on preparation this year

Mets righty not sharp in first start, but he has plenty of time to fine-tune

deGrom able to focus on preparation this year

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- This wasn't the Jacob deGrom the Mets have come to know. This was a rare, wild version of deGrom, unable to throw his fastball or changeup for strikes at will.

But it was also nothing more than deGrom's spring debut, a 4-4 tie Wednesday with the Yankees. Plenty of time remains for him to iron out his command.

"I think everybody's goal here is the same, and that's to get ready for the season," said deGrom, who allowed one run on five hits over three innings. "You've got to do what helps you get ready for the year."

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Two years ago, deGrom reported to Port St. Lucie simply trying to make an impression on management, knowing he would almost certainly open the year at Triple-A Las Vegas. Last February, despite arriving in Florida as the National League's reigning Rookie of the Year, deGrom still felt like he had to show he was deserving of his accolades.

deGrom starts a double play

Now, deGrom has enough stature that -- like teammate Matt Harvey -- he can spend his spring fine-tuning. There is nothing for him to show off here in Florida, nothing more he must prove.

"It's just about getting him work, getting his command back," manager Terry Collins said. "It's all about slowing their deliveries down, and making pitches, and finding that good, consistent release point on their pitches so that they're ready to go. We'll just keep running them out there."

Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.