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Jacob deGrom goes on injured list with 'barking' elbow

Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom walks to the

Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom walks to the dugout after the top of the fourth inning against the Twins at Citi Field on April 9, 2019. Manager Mickey Callaway said deGrom's elbow was "barking'' while playing catch Thursday, April 18. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

ST. LOUIS — Initially scratched from his start against the Cardinals because of strep throat, Jacob deGrom ended up on the injured list Friday with a sore right elbow, which he will get checked out Monday by the Mets’ medical staff.

DeGrom’s elbow was “barking” when he played catch Thursday, manager Mickey Callaway said. The Mets repeatedly emphasized that they aren’t worried, with the exam to be done “in the abundance of caution,” as general manager Brodie Van Wagenen put it. DeGrom is scheduled to have an MRI on Monday.

“Jacob experienced some mild soreness in his throwing arm over the last 24 hours,” Van Wagenen said in a statement Friday evening. “His arm felt significantly better following treatment with our health and performance staff today.”

A source added that after deGrom was treated Friday afternoon, he made a few throws and felt fine. He will stay in St. Louis this weekend, returning to New York City with the team late Sunday night after their series with the Cardinals.

DeGrom’s IL stint is backdated to Tuesday. He will be eligible to return April 26, when the Mets open a home series against the Brewers.

“He came in on the off day [Thursday], played a little catch and started feeling it a little bit,” Callaway said, adding that that was the first the Mets had heard of any elbow issue. “We’re not sure exactly what it is, so we want to get it checked out.

“He’s just a little tender in the elbow. We don’t know if it’s just from general fatigue, so we’re being overly cautious at this point and making sure we take care of him. We have 90 percent of the season left and we feel no reason to really push him too much at this point. There’s just no reason to do it.”

DeGrom most recently had an MRI late last month as part of the i-dotting and t-crossing for his new five-year, $137.5 million contract, which the Mets announced March 26.

Still, deGrom has an extensive elbow injury history. He had Tommy John surgery to repair his torn ulnar collateral ligament in October 2010, months after being drafted. In September 2016, he had surgery to repair nerve damage in the elbow. And last May, he missed one start after he hyperextended the elbow while swinging a bat.

The 2018 National League Cy Young Award winner, deGrom has a 3.68 ERA and 1.27 WHIP in four starts. He has allowed nine runs and 13 hits (five homers) in nine innings in his past two outings but dealt with illness for at least part of that stretch.

“Just a little soreness,” Callaway said. “We want to be overly cautious with our ace at this point.”

A rotation replacement

The Mets will call up Chris Flexen from Triple-A Syracuse to start in deGrom's place Saturday, Callaway said.
In two starts in the minors this month, Flexen has allowed seven earned runs in 12 innings (5.25 ERA) but has struck out 18 batters and walked only three.
"Flexen has been throwing the ball well," Callaway said. "We figured this would be a good matchup for him."
Noah Syndergaard will start Sunday against the Cardinals. Steven Matz will pitch Monday against the Phillies at Citi Field.

Frazier to Syracuse

The Mets moved Todd Frazier (strained left oblique) to Syracuse as he continues his rehab assignment, “just to see more quality pitching,” Callaway said. Frazier has a .216/.326/.297 slash line with one homer, six walks and eight strikeouts in 11 games with advanced Class A St. Lucie.

Syracuse was rained out Friday, but Frazier is scheduled for a seven-inning game Saturday.

Frazier’s assignment is scheduled to expire Tuesday unless he suffers another injury. Callaway said the infielder “probably” won’t rejoin the Mets until at least Monday.

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