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Morning Briefing: Jacob deGrom refreshed for second half of season

PHILADELPHIA -- New York Mets manager Terry Collins considered taking Jacob deGrom to the All-Star Game. In the end, team officials and deGrom --mostly team officials -- decided that having the right-hander take a break rather than participating in San Diego was the right call.

So Bartolo Colon became an All-Star at age 43 and deGrom skipped the Mid-Summer Classic. Instead, deGrom spent the four-day break at home in Florida with his wife and three-month-old son, Jaxon.

DeGrom struck out the side in Cincinnati last year in his first All-Star appearance.

DeGrom opens his second half on Sunday when he opposes Philadelphia Phillies right-hander Zach Eflin at 1:35 p.m. ET at Citizens Bank Park.

“If Bartolo didn’t go, then I would have went,” deGrom said Saturday. “But they decided to give me the break, which I think I needed. Any time you get a break it’s nice. You never want to say no to an All-Star Game, but I’ve been trying to get my mechanics right all year. And I had the lat thing early on. So I think that’s what we decided is best.”

That said, deGrom enjoyed his 2015 All-Star appearance. He struck out Stephen Vogt, Jason Kipnis and Jose Iglesias -- requiring only 10 pitches to navigate his lone inning.

“The whole thing was a blast,” deGrom said. “Any time you get a chance to go, you definitely want to go.

“If I got voted in from the players, I for sure would have been there [last week]. I think it was just more of a decision of trying to stay healthy and being ready for the second half.”

SUNDAY’S NEWS REPORTS:

  • Asdrubal Cabrera's throwing error set up the tiebreaking run in the seventh and the Phillies beat the Mets, 4-2, Saturday. Logan Verrett allowed two runs on eight hits and a walk in six innings in a no-decision. The Mets dropped a season-high seven games behind the Washington Nationals, although the Mets remain tied with the Miami Marlins for the second wild-card slot. Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Record and at NJ.com and MLB.com.

  • Collins said Yoenis Cespedes was available to pinch hit in the ninth inning if the Mets could have tied the score with one swing of the bat. Still, Cespedes remained out of the starting lineup Saturday because he is still having an issue with his strained right quadriceps. Cespedes’ muscle continues to bug him when he decelerates, including when he approaches the first-base bag. The Mets again will have Cespedes do a pregame workout Sunday to gauge whether he is ready to return to the starting lineup. Collins cannot foresee Cespedes landing on the disabled list. Because of backdating rules, Cespedes would be eligible to be activated from the DL next Sunday provided he does not appear in a game. Read more in the Post and Newsday.

  • Noah Syndergaard threw an uneventful 20-pitch bullpen session Saturday in preparation for Tuesday’s start against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. It marked Syndergaard’s first time throwing off a mound since he departed a July 8 game with what has been labeled arm fatigue.

  • James Wagner in the Times writes about the opportunity for Juan Lagares with Cespedes still nursing the quadriceps injury.

  • Michael Conforto had a pair of extra-base hits and two RBIs as Las Vegas beat Iowa, 11-5. Josh Zeid allowed four runs in five innings and Hartford beat Binghamton, 4-2. Chris Flexen tossed six scoreless innings in St. Lucie’s 7-0 rain-shortened win against Daytona. Andrew Church tossed a one-hit shutout in Columbia’s 4-0 win against Rome. Joe Maria’s tiebreaking RBI double in the eighth lifted Kingsport to a 3-2 win against Burlington. Read the full minor-league recap here.

  • Steven Marcus in Newsday asks Mets amateur scouting director Tommy Tanous to compare Steven Matz and fellow Ward Melville High School product Anthony Kay, who signed last week. “They’re different types of pitchers,” Tanous tells Marcus. “Matz was a little more physically mature in high school at 17 years old. Anthony really loves to pitch with his fastball. He was one of the few college pitchers I scouted that really wants to pitch with his fastball, wants to come inside on hitters, and it sets up his advanced changeup.”

  • Marc Carig in Newsday writes that the Mets are in the market for one more bullpen arm, but adds: “They nearly signed Kevin Jepsen after his release from the Twins with a 6.16 ERA. The right-hander ended up reuniting with the Rays. And skepticism exists within the organization about the cost [and]] benefits of a higher-end reliever such as the Brewers’ Jeremy Jeffress.”

  • Columnist Kevin Kernan in the Post finds plenty to critique in Saturday’s Mets loss.

  • Columnist Ken Davidoff in the Post lists nine prospects around baseball who could help their organizations to the playoffs as Conforto did a year ago after getting promoted. The list includes Las Vegas second baseman Dilson Herrera.

  • In honor of Daniel Murphy tormenting the Mets, columnist Mike Vaccaro in the Post ranks the best historical “revenge games” against New York teams, including Tom Seaver and Darryl Strawberry’s returns to Shea Stadium as visitors.

  • From the bloggers … Faith and Fear offers an appreciation of Jeurys Familia. ... Mets Report believes the Mets are doomed if they don’t execute fundamentals.

BIRTHDAYS: The late Roy McMillan was born on this date in 1929.

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