NEW YORK -- Concerned that the rainy Queens weather at Citi Field would impact his start, the Mets scratched Jacob deGrom from his Thursday outing against the Padres. Rafael Montero started in deGrom's place.
There is nothing physically wrong with deGrom, according to manager Terry Collins. But the club did not want him to start and endure a lengthy delay, and deGrom agreed. Given the extent to which the Mets have taxed their bullpen of late, they need length -- not a rain-shortened outing -- from deGrom, who leads the rotation in average innings per start. He will pitch Friday's series opener in Pittsburgh, with everyone else in the rotation moving back a day.
DeGrom said the Mets informed him of their decision when he arrived at the ballpark around 2 p.m. ET. By that point, a steady rain had blanketed Citi Field for much of the afternoon, with additional thunderstorms forecasted for later in the evening.
"He actually agreed," Collins said. "One thing we didn't want to have to do was get him warmed up, sit him down, wait, have him pitch two innings, get to 30 pitches and then have to shut him down. We're not in a situation to do that right now. We were struggling for a pitcher on Saturday anyway, so we decided to push him back a day."
Before pushing back deGrom, the Mets were unsure who would start on Saturday in place of Tommy Milone, who is on the disabled list with a sprained left knee. Both Montero and Josh Smoker were candidates for that start, but neither was a strong bet to pitch deep into the game. Now, Zack Wheeler will pitch on Saturday, with Matt Harvey and Robert Gsellman filling in behind him.
Montero carried an 8.10 ERA into Thursday's outing. He gave up five runs in 3 2/3 innings in his only other start this season.
As Montero prepared for his last-minute start on Thursday afternoon, deGrom trotted out for a light game of catch amid the rain. He threw a bullpen session earlier this week and said he did not expect the one-day delay to impact his readiness.
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. 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.