NEW YORK — Mets pitching ace Jacob deGrom continues to make his way back on the mound from injury.

DeGrom struck out five of the six batters he faced and threw 18 of 24 pitches for strikes in his first minor league rehabilitation start for Class A St. Lucie Sunday night. It was the first competitive outing since spring training for deGrom, sidelined all season because of a stress reaction in his right scapula that caused inflammation.

The two-time Cy Young Award winner also missed the second half of last season with right forearm tightness and a sprained elbow — he hasn’t pitched in the majors since July 7, 2021. As he builds up arm strength and stamina, the 34-year-old right-hander will need several minor league rehab outings before he’s ready to rejoin New York’s rotation.

PIX11’s Marc Malusis explains why velocity matters when it comes to deGrom’s return. Watch in the video player above.