For deGrom, a win would be sweet

Jacob deGrom has pitched well, but has yet to notch his first MLB victory. William Perlman/USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK -- By almost any standard, Jacob deGrom's big league career is off to a very nice start.

The New York Mets proudly declare in their game notes that deGrom is the first pitcher in franchise history to pitch five or more innings with five or fewer hits in each of his first five big league games. That's a lot of fives, but it's also very good.

But deGrom is also just the second pitcher in Mets history to pitch at least five innings in each of his first five big league games, without recording a win in any of them (Roy Lee Jackson in 1977 was the other).

A pitcher's wins don't mean what they once did, but they still mean something.

Heading into his Wednesday night start against the Milwaukee Brewers, deGrom still doesn't have one.

"When [a starting pitcher] walks out there to the mound, you want to win," Mets manager Terry Collins said Wednesday afternoon. "That's your thought process. It's not to keep the team in the game. It's to win."

You want your pitchers thinking that way. You also want them understanding that sometimes, winning the game is somewhat out of their control.

In two of his first five starts, deGrom left the game in the seventh inning with a lead, only to see the Mets' bullpen fail to hold it. He also lost 1-0 to the New York Yankees in his major league debut, and 4-3 to the Los Angeles Dodgers in his second start.

"Our veteran guys have got everyone understanding that your job is to pitch as good as you can pitch," Collins said. "I'll give you all I got as long as you need it."

DeGrom has done that. He's done it well, by almost any standard.

But heading into Wednesday night, he is still looking for that first win.

Rice needs sink: When the Mets sent left-handed reliever Scott Rice to Triple-A Las Vegas after Tuesday's game, Collins said he gave the pitcher one message.

"Scott lived and died with the sinker, and I told him he's got to find that pitch," Collins said.

Rice was sent down to make room for Gonzalez Germen, who came off the disabled list.

Mets sign 16: The Mets announced the signing of 16 players from last week's draft, including third-rounder Milton Ramos and fourth-rounder Eudor Garcia. The others were Josh Prevost (fifth round), Tyler Moore (sixth), Brad Wieck (seventh), Dash Winningham (eighth), Kelly Secrest (10th), Connor Buchmann (11th), Alex Durham (12th), Eric Manoah (13th), Darryl Knight (14th), David Roseboom (17th), Bryce Beeler (19th), William Fulmer (22nd), Nicco Blank (25th) and Alex Palsha (27th).

DL for Noah, but no worry: The Mets put top prospect Noah Syndergaard on the Las Vegas disabled list Wednesday, but were careful to say that he did not suffer a setback in his comeback from a sprained left (non-throwing) shoulder. The 51s simply needed another roster spot. Syndergaard, who wasn't expected to start a game this week anyway, is eligible to come off the DL as soon as Saturday.

Gee on the way back: Dillon Gee, on the disabled list since May 11 with a strained right lat, expects to throw off a mound this weekend. The Mets are hopeful that Gee will need only one minor league rehabilitation start before he returns to the rotation.

The return of K-Rod? Brewers closer Francisco Rodriguez told several reporters Wednesday that he would like to return to the Mets sometime before his career is done. Rodriguez, who was traded to the Brewers at the All-Star break in 2011, is second in the National League with 19 saves.