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Jacob deGrom dissatisfied with control in first Grapefruit League outing

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom chuckled when asked about his control issues in his first 2016 Grapefruit League start.

“I threw a ball halfway up the backstop, and that wasn’t what I wanted to do,” deGrom said, referring to an airmailed pitch to Yankees No. 9 hitter Dustin Fowler.

DeGrom had an alibi. He had been behind in facing batters because of a skipped turn on a mound earlier in camp while dealing with a mild tweak to a muscle in his upper left thigh.

DeGrom allowed one run on five hits while striking out two in three innings against the Yankees. The damage came on a two-out double by Aaron Hicks, followed by an RBI single by Chase Headley on a hanging slider in the third -- although deGrom was pleased with his slider overall. DeGrom tossed 46 pitches.

“That’s my second time facing hitters,” deGrom said. “I threw the one live BP. And the other one got scratched. So I was just getting out there and getting the feel for things. You get a little amped up when somebody steps in the box.”

DeGrom’s fastball ranged from 91 to 93 mph. He noted he was purposely taking the throttle off his fastball velocity in an ill-fated attempt to gain more control and get the ball down in the zone.

“I was trying to take a little off to get it down. That wasn’t working,” deGrom said. “It was kind of a battle out there.”