PHILADELPHIA -- The Mets got their hearts ripped out -- again -- letting a five-run lead slip away in a 7-6 loss to the Phillies. But the more pressing issue on Sunday involved a pair of their promising young pitchers.
Jacob deGrom, the rookie of the year candidate, will be examined by doctors today after lingering soreness in his right shoulder. And Jenrry Mejia, who has enjoyed a successful transition from starter to closer, revealed that he has been pitching through a hernia that will eventually require surgery.
Here are a few answers to a few FAQs:
Q: How long has deGrom been dealing with his shoulder injury?
A: The rookie started on Thursday against the Nationals and said he felt fine during the outing. But he felt an unusual amount of soreness on Friday. The injury did not prevent him from playing catch. But manager Terry Collins scrapped his scheduled bullpen on Sunday.
Q: Has deGrom experienced any similar issues?
A: In the minor leagues last season, deGrom said he felt a similar sensation, though in a different area of his right shoulder. He said his current soreness centered on the top of his right shoulder. It’s the first time this season he has dealt with any physical issues. “I haven’t felt anything all year,” deGrom said. “It’s a little inflamed or something. I think I’ll be fine.”
Q: With deGrom missing his scheduled start on Tuesday, who will take his place?
A: Assistant general manager John Ricco said the answer may depend on whether deGrom misses more than one start. Carlos Torres would be the natural choice to spot start if the Mets stay with the options they have on hand. But Collins said the bullpen is so worn down that the Mets may need Torres to pitch in Monday’s series finale against the Phillies. Prospect Noah Syndergaard is slated to pitch on Tuesday -- lining him exactly with deGrom.
Q: Would Syndergaard be ready to make the jump to the big leagues?
A: Team insiders have been encouraged by Syndergaard’s recent performances at Triple-A Las Vegas. He has clicked with pitching coach Frank Viola and has shown improvement with his secondary offerings. In his last four outings, the 21-year-old Syndergaard has posted a 1.21 ERA. But it seems unlikely that the Mets promote him for just one spot start.
Q: Will this injury make it more likely that the Mets begin limiting deGrom’s innings?
A: The Mets have been floating ideas to manage deGrom’s workload. They have discussed a temporary stint in the bullpen or even skipping a start or two. But deGrom has pitched so well that Mets had yet to come close to actually acting on those intentions. That may change now.
Q: How long has Mejia been dealing with his hernia?
A: Mejia said he has pitched through his hernia for the last three weeks -- with the blessings of team doctors and manager Terry Collins. Neither Collins nor Mejia linked the hernia to the closer’s recent rough performances. But in his last four appearances -- including his blown save on Sunday against the Phillies -- Mejia has a 9.36 ERA.
Q: Has the hernia affected Mejia on the mound?
A: Aside from dealing with stiffness and discomfort, Mejia said he has been able to pitch through it. And because he has been given clearance by doctors, Collins has left it up to Mejia to decide how much discomfort he can tolerate. “If he tells me tomorrow he can’t do it, then we’ll make a decision,” Collins said.
Q: Why doesn’t Mejia simply undergo surgery now?
A: Mejia believes he can push through. “I want to keep going, do some treatment, and keep pitching,” he said. Meanwhile, the Mets have been emboldened by recent examples of their pitchers pushing through similar injuries. “We’ve had it here before,” Collins said. He noted that both R.A. Dickey pitched most of the 2012 season with hernia while Scott Rice dealt with the issue for most of his 2013 campaign. But it’s also possible that Mejia’s condition worsens. And even if it might not impact his throwing at first, his mobility could be compromised, thus limiting his ability to field his position.