Jacob deGrom said Wednesday that he will not be attending the All-Star Game at Coors Field. He will instead spend time with his family and rest for the second half.
"I've thought about it and obviously being named to an All-Star Game is a great honor but I'm just going to take that time and spend it with my family and get healthy for the second half," the New York Mets' ace said after he pitched seven innings in a no-decision Wednesday against the Milwaukee Brewers.
DeGrom, who was the first-place Mets' lone All-Star selection, lobbied for teammate Taijuan Walker to take his place in the game.
"He's 100% deserving to go," deGrom said of Walker, who is 7-3 with a 2.44 ERA in his first season with the Mets.
DeGrom's ERA rose to 1.08 after he allowed two solo home runs against the Brewers on Wednesday. He struck out 10 and reached the 1,500 strikeout milestone for his career during the outing. He is the second-fastest to reach 1,500 career strikeouts in major league history, doing so in his 198th career game, just one behind Yu Darvish, who reached the milestone in his 197th game earlier this season. DeGrom also now leads the major leagues with 146 strikeouts.
If deGrom does not pitch again before the All-Star break, his 1.08 ERA will be the second-lowest ERA at the All-Star break since it was first contested in 1933 (minimum 10 starts), according to ESPN Stats & Information. Bob Gibson had a 1.06 ERA at the All-Star break in 1968, the year he won MVP and finished with a 1.12 ERA.
When asked if he feels a responsibility to represent the National League in Colorado after his dominant first half, DeGrom (7-2) said he thought about that but he didn't "think it's beneficial for me to fly back to Colorado and back."
The two-time NL Cy Young Award skipped an outing between April 28 and May 9 due to discomfort in his right lat muscle, then did not pitch again until May 25 while spending time on the injured list with what the Mets said was tightness in his right side. DeGrom left his June 11 outing against San Diego after six innings because of flexor tendinitis in his right arm.
"I think Jake's mindset is here -- he just wants to be with his team and he wants to produce for his team,'' Mets manager Luis Rojas said. "With everything that's happened this season, I think his mindset is just if he's going to pitch, he's going to pitch here.''
DeGrom was set to take the loss on Wednesday before Jose Peraza hit a pinch-hit home run off the Brewers' Josh Hader in the bottom of the seventh, the closer's first blown save of the season after converting his first 20 chances. The Mets rallied again in the eighth inning for a 4-3 victory in the first game of a doubleheader.
DeGrom was scheduled to pitch Tuesday night and again Sunday but his start Tuesday was rained out, pushing him to Wednesday's start. It's unclear if deGrom will still make the start on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Pirates on short rest. The right-hander said it's possible he could pitch but that decision will be evaluated during the week.
Regardless if he starts or not, deGrom said it's best for himself and the Mets that he bow out of the All-Star Game.
"It's best for me and this team for me to not go and rest for the second half," he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.