PORT ST. LUCIE – A frustrated Jacob deGrom tries to make the most of his latest injury.
In his first public comments since being diagnosed two days earlier with a stress reaction on his right shoulder blade, the Mets ace said Sunday he was relieved to know he was dealing with a bone problem which should heal completely with rest.
“Structurally everything looks good, so once the bone heals we’ll be good to go from there and hopefully be healthy for the rest of the year,” deGrom said at Clover Park. .
But the right-hander has been barred from pitching for up to four weeks and will then need time to develop before he can join the Mets’ rotation, a process that could take him into late May or beyond.
DeGrom said he was blindsided by the injury, which first caught his attention while playing wrestling on Thursday. An MRI exam the next day revealed the stress reaction.
By this point, deGrom had pitched five innings in two Grapefruit League appearances and struck out 10 batters, throwing his fastball in the 97-99 mph range.
It came after deGrom missed the second half of last season with forearm and elbow discomfort.
“I’m really frustrated,” deGrom said. “I arrived at camp feeling really good, it felt like my elbow and shoulder were in the right place and then hearing a stress reaction in the bone was definitely something I didn’t expect , so the frustration level is really high right now. ”
Manager Buck Showalter has yet to officially name deGrom’s replacement in the rotation (Tylor Megill, David Peterson and Trevor Williams are the top candidates) as he navigates another short-term issue: hamstring pain. Max Scherzer’s straight leg.
DeGrom was scheduled to pitch Thursday’s opener in Washington. The Mets will know more about Scherzer after hosting a parallel session on Tuesday.
In 15 starts last season, deGrom threw a 1.08 ERA.
“You want to see him on the field for 35 starts,” shortstop Francisco Lindor said. ” You want to see it. He is one of the greatest. I want to be a part of watching this unfold. But we wish him nothing but the best and a speedy recovery and we have a job to do.
Lindor stressed that a healthy deGrom alone does not guarantee success.
“Even if [deGrom] was on the team, how many games did Jacob lose because we didn’t do our job? Lindor said. “Teams can still beat us 1-0. It sucks to watch him on the sidelines. I want to see him every five days.
“The sky is not falling. We have to focus on what we have. We have 26 other guys trying to get the job done. It’s part of the grind. It’s part of the adversity. We are athletes. We going to get hurt.”
DeGrom said he wished he could identify what might have caused his final injury.
“It’s something I’m trying to figure out, because I felt like I was putting myself in a good position this offseason to be ready to make 30-plus starts,” he said. “I would guess if I said exactly what happened. I pitched a short build up, not pitching competitively in [8 ½] months, but it would be a guess if I said exactly what happened.
One thing has not changed. Arriving at spring training, deGrom said he planned to exercise the opt-out in his contract after this season. The right-hander signed a five-year contract worth $137.5 million before the 2019 season, which included an opt-out after the fourth year. When asked Sunday if he still plans to step down, deGrom said yes.