PORT ST. LUCIE — Coming off back-to-back NL Cy Young Awards, Jacob deGrom said he feels there is still room for improvement, which is why he threw the curveball J.D. Davis hit for a home run during a simulated game on a back field Friday.
“I’ve been putting some work in-between [starts] on it and it’s been good in the pen,’’ deGrom said in the Mets clubhouse at Clover Park following his three-inning, 51-pitch simulated-game outing. “In the game, it seems to pop up.”
DeGrom hasn’t thrown the pitch much during his career and isn’t sure how much he’ll use it going forward.
“It’s something I’ve been working on to have another weapon,’’ deGrom said. “Once [Davis] hit it, I said to Rene [Rivera], ‘That’s why I don’t throw it.’ ”
The right-hander said he expects to make three more appearances before the regular season — and he likely will pitch to Wilson Ramos.
“When we’re getting closer to Opening Day, they need to be all games,’’ said deGrom, who opted for the sim game Friday.
Davis said he is impressed deGrom continues to look for ways to improve even after his success.
“He’s a two-time Cy Young Award winner and wants to get better and add to his repertoire,’’ Davis said. “We appreciate that from him as a leader and a guy who’s our ace.”
The homer to left was also a positive sign for Davis, who was facing his live pitching for the first time since jamming his left shoulder Feb. 25 while trying to make a diving stop at third base.
“The shoulder has been feeling really good the last couple days,’’ Davis said. “Just making sure it’s stabilized. I’m good to go.”
Davis said he also was encouraged by how the shoulder felt on swings and misses. He plans on having live at-bats again on Saturday.
The final test will be diving at third base again, but Davis doesn’t know when that will happen.
“I’m getting closer and closer,’’ Davis said.
deGrom also faced a rehabbing Yoenis Cespedes in a sim game and Cespedes flailed at deGrom’s first-pitch slider to start the game. Both players laughed at the result.
“I knew he was looking for a first-pitch fastball, so I threw him a slider,’’ deGrom said. “My goal is to try to get these guys out. Yeah, there’s some joking in-between, but when they step in there, I want to get them out.”