Morning Briefing: Will Jacob deGrom get back on track?

The Mets hope Jacob deGrom is well rested for his start Thursday night. AP Photo/John Amis

NEW YORK -- Will a little extra rest solve Jacob deGrom's recent struggles?

“We’ll find out,” New York Mets manager Terry Collins said. “I don’t have an answer for that. If I did, I’d leave this job and go be somewhere else.”

DeGrom, who was skipped Monday because Mets officials suspected he was suffering from arm fatigue, opposes Miami Marlins right-hander Jose Urena in Thursday’s 7:10 p.m. ET series finale at Citi Field as the Mets aim for a four-game sweep. DeGrom has allowed 13 runs and 25 hits in 9 2/3 innings over his past two starts.

He will pitch on only three extra days of rest. Collins originally planned for deGrom to return to the rotation on Friday against the Washington Nationals, but Steven Matz’s shoulder impingement acted up and the Mets moved deGrom up a day.

Also on Thursday, the Mets will add five new pieces with rosters having expanded. The team acquired right-handed reliever Fernando Salas from the Los Angeles Angels late Wednesday. And Michael Conforto, Kevin Plawecki, Ty Kelly and Gabriel Ynoa are due to join the Mets from Triple-A Las Vegas. A second wave of farmhands will join the Mets after the Pacific Coast League club wraps up its season next week.

The Mets (69-64) enter Thursday only 1½ games behind the St. Louis Cardinals for the National League’s second wild-card spot. The Mets have leapfrogged the Marlins and Pittsburgh Pirates in those standings over the last two days.


  • Free-agent-to-be Neil Walker will announce on Thursday his intention to undergo season-ending surgery to repair a herniated disk in his lower back. The issue had resulted in weakness in a leg and numbness in a foot. Collins said Walker’s decision, which was reached after a second opinion of an MRI was sought, came as a surprise to Mets personnel. Assuming Walker’s back injury isn’t overly severe, the Mets could make a qualifying offer this winter and recoup a first-round pick. It’s unclear how the surgery will affect the Mets’ inclination to re-sign Walker. Read more in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Journal, Record and at NJ.com.

  • Salas was acquired from the Angels for minor league right-hander Erik Manoah, a 13th-round pick in 2014 out of high school in Florida. Salas will be eligible for the Mets’ postseason roster because he was acquired before midnight. He was 3-6 with a 4.47 ERA and six saves in 58 relief appearances with the Angels. Salas is eligible for free agency this winter. Manoah was 5-5 with a 5.37 ERA in 62 innings with Brooklyn. To make room for Salas on the 40-man roster, the Mets placed Justin Ruggiano (shoulder) on the 60-day DL, effectively ending his season. The Mets also traded Triple-A catcher Nevin Ashley to the Texas Rangers for cash. Read more in Newsday and at NJ.com and MLB.com.

  • Kelly Johnson delivered a tiebreaking three-run double in the eighth against A.J. Ramos and the Mets beat the Marlins, 5-2, Wednesday. Wilmer Flores earlier delivered a two-run homer. Bartolo Colon allowed two runs in seven innings in a no-decision. Jeurys Familia recorded his 44th save to establish a franchise record. Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Times, Newsday, Record and at NJ.com and MLB.com.

  • Maine-Endwell, the upstate New York team that won the Little League World Series, was given the royal treatment at Citi Field on Wednesday. Read more in the Daily News and at MLB.com.

  • The Mets will send left-hander David Roseboom, right-hander Corey Taylor, catcher Tomas Nido, infielder Gavin Cecchini and outfielder Champ Stuart to the Arizona Fall League. First-base coach Tom Goodwin will manage the Scottsdale team -- unless he is occupied by the Mets’ postseason. Cecchini is expected to get his first exposure to second base as a professional. Read more at MLB.com.

  • Sandy Alderson is not dismissive of the Mets signing Tim Tebow. The belief is that whichever team inks Tebow primarily will be doing so for novelty purposes.

  • Columnist David Lennon in Newsday marvels at the bombshell announcements the Mets end up dropping at the end of press conferences.

  • Mike Puma in the Post concludes: “It’s Sept. 1 and the Mets have a legitimate shot at returning to the postseason. That’s a pretty wild thought.”

  • It’s a split decision about whether the Mets or Yankees have the brighter future, columnist John Harper writes in the Daily News.

  • Phillip Evans homered, but Binghamton lost to Altoona 9-4. St. Lucie, which was rained out Wednesday, leads Jupiter by a half-game for the second-half division title as those teams set to face off for the final four games of the regular season. Dale Burdick’s walk-off double lifted Columbia over West Virginia 5-4. Jose Maria had a walk-off RBI single in the 10th as Kingsport beat Bristol 2-1. Read the full minor-league recap here.

  • From the bloggers … Mets Report is skeptical the Mets will sign Walker given their experience with David Wright.

BIRTHDAYS: David West turns 52. ... Derek Wallace is 45. ... Jhoan Urena is 22.


YOU’RE UP: What would be your maximum offer to Walker as a free agent this offseason?