JUPITER, Fla. – Entering the 2022 season with a record salary and many new talented players, the Mets have high hopes. Perhaps the biggest reason for that revolves around star pitchers Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer, the leaders of what could have been one of baseball’s best -starting rotations.
But six days before Washington’s opening day on April 7 – a task that would have gone to deGrom, a two -time Cy Young Award winner – the Mets were confused. On Friday, a day after the team learned his ace was facing trouble with his shoulder throw, the Mets announced he could beat them all in April.
Diagnosis after a magnetic resonance imaging examination on Friday morning: a stress reaction (considered a prelude to a stress fracture) in his right shoulder blade caused inflammation. The Mets said the deGrom won’t go away until four weeks, then have another MRI.
“He’s disappointed,” Mets General Manager Billy Eppler said as his team played St. Louis. Louis Cardinals during a spring training game in Jupiter, Fla. “We’re disappointed.”
DeGrom’s injury comes at a critical time not only for the Mets but for himself. After winning the National League Cy Young Awards in 2018 and 2019, deGrom showed the way to claim another in 2021. But after continuing his earnings run average to 1.08 in 92 innings in July, deGrom missed out on last three months of the season with a right elbow injury – a daunting proposition for any pitcher but especially for one who had Tommy John surgery in 2010 and a separate operation to repair the nerve injury on his elbow in 2016.
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DeGrom, 33, reported this spring training as healthy and, clearly with the intent to have a dominant season, announced that he plans to use the clause in his five -year, $ 137.5 million contract extension that allows him to opt out after the 2022 season.
Asked how many hours he expects deGrom to be gone, Eppler said it’s hard to say and the timeline depends on deGrom’s recovery. Eppler said deGrom would feel better in less than four weeks, but based on what the MRI revealed, one month is a reasonable time to wait before undergoing another.
If deGrom continues to pass four weeks later, he still needs to get back into game form. A guideline for starting pitchers is that each week without it takes another week to build the arm and body back, so that the deGrom can face at least two months apart.
Shoulder-throwing stress reactions have previously upset other pitchers, such as Michael Wacha and Brandon McCarthy, at times over and over again. Reacting to the news of deGrom’s injury, retired McCarthy wrote on Twitter, “Since this technical injury has to be named in my name I can say it’s never a big deal. It’s not that big. He’ll just get better. ”
Eppler said deGrom’s injury developed over time and doctors found that the rest of the pitcher’s shoulder had healed. He and Mets Manager Buck Showalter said they had no idea if delayed and interrupted training in spring this year led to deGrom’s injury.
“It’s a quick regret,” Showalter said, then said of other injuries throughout baseball, “We’re all moving under the same. You can see a lot of them going on.”
Even if Scherzer, 37, a three -time Cy Young Award winner the Mets appealed this winter with a record three -year, $ 130 million deal, it would be an obvious option to replace deGrom with opening day, Showalter said he wanted to talk to other front office members before announcing a decision.
Among the less-proven options to fill the rotation hole: Tylor Megill, David Peterson and Trevor Williams. Eppler said he feels good about the depth of rotation the Mets have already accumulated. After Scherzer’s rotation, the Mets have veteran pitchers Carlos Carrasco, Taijuan Walker and Chris Bassitt, whom they acquired in a trade last month.
“The sky’s not falling,” Showalter deadpanned at the end of Friday’s game, which was briefly interrupted by wet weather. “It’s raining.”