Thursday, December 7

Injured Mets’ deGrom out for major time, no set return date

JUPITER, Fla. (AP) — New York Mets ace Jacob DeGrom will miss major time because of inflammation in his shoulder area, a huge blow to a team that heavily invested in making a deep run this season.

The two-time Cy Young Award winner won’t throw for up to four weeks and there is no timetable for his return, the Mets announced Friday.

“He’s disappointed. We’re disappointed. Everybody is sharing in the disappointment right now. Nobody’s immune to that,” Mets general manager Billy Eppler said in Jupiter, where New York was playing St. Louis.

The Mets said an MRI earlier in the day showed a stress reaction on his right scapula that caused inflammation. The 33-year-old deGrom first experienced the tightness while playing catch Thursday.

DeGrom missed the second half of last season with an elbow injury.

“I think the good news is here there is nothing structurally wrong here, as far as the rotator cuff or anything like that is concerned. We are dealing with a bone issue and when you are dealing with bone, they calcify. The healing characteristics will take of themselves, so I think that’s a positive that we walk away with,” Eppler said.

DeGrom had been set to start the season opener Thursday in Washington. The Mets had considered their rotation a major strong suit this season after signing three-time Cy Young winner Max Scherzer and trading for All-Star Chris Bassitt.

After getting off to a sensational start last year, deGrom didn’t pitch after July 7 because of a sprained elbow. He was 7-2 with a 1.08 ERA in 15 outings, but New York collapsed without him to finish 77-85 after leading the NL East for 103 days.

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DeGrom reported to camp healthy this year and had permitted one run over five innings in Grapefruit League games, striking out 10. The right-hander’s most recent outing was Sunday against the Cardinals.

Earlier in camp, deGrom said he plans to opt out of his contract after this season and become a free agent.

Scherzer is scheduled to throw seven innings and fewer than 100 pitches against Mets minor leaguers in a simulated game Saturday. James McCann will catch Scherzer. The remainder of the major club has a scheduled off day.

If all goes well in the simulated game, Scherzer would be available to pitch opening day on five days of rest, manager Buck Showalter said.

“He would be comfortable, yes,” Showalter said before deGrom’s diagnosis was announced.

“We’ll see how tomorrow goes,” he said.

Carlos Carrasco and Taijuan Walker comprise the remainder of the Mets rotation.

Showalter designed the spring rotation to give each pitcher five days of rest before their first regular season appearance.

If deGrom isn’t ready for opening day, projecting the rotation might not be as simple as moving each pitcher up one day.

“I’d really like to stay away from changing four guys’ plans that were carefully scripted to begin the season with an extra days’ rest going in,” Showalter said.

Right-hander Tylor Megill or left-hander David Peterson are the most likely options to join the Mets rotation. Megill went 4-6 with a 4.52 ERA in 18 starts last year — his lone major league season. In 25 appearances, 24 starts, across the past two seasons, Peterson is 8-8 with a 4.64 ERA.

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When healthy, deGrom has been dominant. A four-time All-Star, he won the NL Cy Young in 2018 and 2019.

His 99.2 mph average velocity for fastballs last season was second in the majors behind Emmanuel Clase’s 100.7 mph for hurlers with at least 1,000 pitches, according to MLB Statcast.

“We’re going to do everything we can to support him every which way that we can, Jake’s a resilient person. With time, things heal. This is another situation where time will have him healed and we’ll get him back on the field,” Eppler said.


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