Mets Pull deGrom After One Inning in Loss to Phillies

Jacob deGrom threw 45 pitches in the first inning on Sunday in Philadelphia.

PHILADELPHIA — Jacob deGrom, the Mets’ best pitcher, returned on Sunday from a short stint on the 10-day disabled list for a hyperextended throwing elbow. He didn’t make it to the second inning.

DeGrom almost pitched last Monday, before the Mets, who overhauled their medical practices in the off-season after another injury-plagued season, decided to be more cautious. That attitude guided the Mets (19-18) again on Sunday, when they pulled deGrom after just one laborious inning of a 4-2 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies.

“I was kind of surprised, honestly,” deGrom said. “I definitely would’ve liked to go back out there. The reasoning, I understand, but who wants to pitch one inning as a starter?”

While the Mets have been cautious with deGrom, they have allowed their most powerful hitter, left fielder Yoenis Cespedes, to play through right quadriceps discomfort. In the sixth inning, he smashed a solo home run, but he moved gingerly after beating out an infield hit and after catching a ball in the outfield.

In the end, the Mets lost because of a seventh-inning, three-run home run by pinch-hitter Nick Williams, a left-handed hitter, off Paul Sewald, a right-handed relief pitcher in his second inning of work. The Mets had Jerry Blevins, a left-hander, warming up the bullpen, and he ultimately did not appear in the game. It was the Mets’ ninth loss in 11 games.

“We had to get Blevins going in case we were in dire need and Paul looked like he was struggling,” Mets Manager Mickey Callaway said. “I didn’t feel like that was the case.”

Rain delayed Sunday’s game an hour. A combination of deGrom’s uneven command and the pesky Phillies hitters pushed his first-inning pitch count to 45. He walked the first three batters to load the bases, and the Phillies…