PORT ST. LUCIE – A frustrated Jacob deGrom tries to make the best of it his last injury.
In his first public statements since he was Diagnosed two days earlier with a stress reaction on his right shoulder bladethe Mets ace said Sunday he was relieved to know he was dealing with a bone problem that should heal completely with rest.
“Structurally, everything looks good once the bone heals, so we’ll be ready to build from there and hopefully be healthy for the rest of the year,” deGrom said at Clover Park.
But the right-hander has been suspended from throwing for up to four weeks and will then need time to build up before he can re-enter the Mets rotation, a process that could take him into late May or beyond.
DeGrom said he was surprised by the injury, which first caught his eye Thursday’s catch. An MRI scan the following day found the stress response.
To this point, in two Grapefruit League appearances, deGrom had pitched five innings and hit 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 problems.
“I’m really frustrated,” deGrom said. “I came into camp feeling really good, I felt like my elbow and shoulder were in a good place, and then hearing a stress reaction in the bone was definitely something I wasn’t expecting, so that’s the Level of frustration really high at the moment. ”
Manager Buck Showalter still has no official name deGrom’s replacement in the rotation (Tylor Megill, David Peterson, and Trevor Williams are the front-runners) while addressing another near-term issue: Max Scherzer’s painful right Achilles tendon.
DeGrom was scheduled to open Thursday in Washington. The Mets will know more about Scherzer after he hosts a side meeting Tuesday.
In 15 starts last season, deGrom posted a 1.08 ERA.
“They want to see him on the field for 35 starts,” said shortstop Francisco Lindor. “You want to see him. He’s one of the greatest. I want to be there when I see how this develops. But we wish him all the best and a speedy recovery and we have work to do.”
Lindor pointed out 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?” said Lindor. “Teams can still beat us 1-0. It sucks to see him on the sidelines. I want to see him every five days.
“The sky isn’t falling. We have to focus on what we have. We have 26 other guys trying to do the job. It’s part of the grind. It’s part of adversity. We are athletes. We will get hurt.”
DeGrom said he wishes he could pinpoint what might have caused his most recent injury.
“That’s what I’m trying to figure out because I felt like I was in a good place this offseason to be ready to make 30+ starts,” he said. “I would guess if I said exactly what happened. I threw around a short ramp without being competitive [8 ½] Months, but that would be a guess if I said exactly what happened.”
One thing hasn’t changed. When he came to spring training, deGrom said he intends to do so exercise the opt-out in his contract after this season. The right-hander signed a five-year, $137.5 million deal ahead of the 2019 season, which included an opt-out after the fourth year. When asked Sunday if he still plans to opt out, deGrom replied yes.