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New York Mets' Jacob deGrom (shoulder) nearing return after throwing 60 pitches in simulated game

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom is nearing a return from a stress reaction in his right scapula after throwing 60 pitches across five innings in a simulated game Thursday at the team's spring training complex.

The two-time Cy Young Award winner was initially supposed to throw live batting practice Tuesday, but the outing was pushed back two days after he experienced muscle soreness in his right shoulder.

DeGrom has already made three minor league rehab starts, the most recent last Thursday for Triple-A Syracuse.

The 34-year-old right-hander has been sidelined since spring training but was expected to return shortly after the All-Star break. The Mets haven't said if he'll make any more minor league starts before being activated.

New York opens the second half Friday night at home against the San Diego Padres.

DeGrom hasn't pitched in the majors since July 7, 2021. He missed the second half of last season with right forearm tightness and a sprained elbow.

In other news announced Thursday, the Mets said first baseman and designated hitter Dominic Smith was placed on the 10-day injured list Wednesday with a right ankle sprain. The move was retroactive to July 17.

Reserve outfielder Ender Inciarte elected free agency on Sunday. He had been designated for assignment.