The Mets' biggest fears were allayed on Thursday after Jacob deGrom had an MRI exam to evaluate the shoulder soreness that forced him from Wednesday night’s win over the Cubs after three innings.
Two doctors said the pitcher is picture perfect.
The imaging taken at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan got looks from team medical director Dr. David Altchek as well as specialist Dr. Neal El-Attrache and, according to Mets manager Luis Rojas, both found nothing of concern.
"Both doctors had the same prognosis from the imaging," Rojas said. ""It just shows as a normal shoulder that a pitcher would have. No concerns."
Rojas added the club’s plan right now is not to put deGrom on the 10-day injured list and have him go through his normal between-starts routine, which included playing catch before Thursday night’s series finale against the Cubs. Rojas said that deGrom reported "it feels pretty good," but he would not commit to the righthander making his scheduled Monday start. "Right now we’re not thinking of an IL stint . . . we’re going to go day-by-day," he explained.
DeGrom pitched three innings and retired all nine Cubs he faced on Wednesday, striking out eight. He said afterward that he’d begun to feel discomfort in the back of his throwing shoulder at the start of the third inning and that it did not go away for the entire inning. He informed the field and training staffs after the inning and was removed from the game out of an abundance of caution.
DeGrom, who turns 33 on Saturday, is off to a historic start this season, with a 6-2 record after 11 starts and has pitched 67 innings to a 0.54 ERA with 111 strikeouts and a mere eight walks. His three innings Wednesday extend his run of scoreless frames to 25.
It has not, however, been without issues. He spent about two weeks on the injured list in May after experiencing tightness in his right side. He had a bout with right flexor tendonitis in his right elbow that force him from a June 11 win against San Diego. And he bounced back to make Wednesday’s start before his shoulder began to bother him.
Though the three issues are clustered into about five weeks’ time, the Mets seem convinced that they are not caused by compensating or in any way related. Part of that assessment comes from reviewing video that showed no change in mechanics. And part has to do with the unchanged velocity of his pitches.
Rojas said that if the Mets believed the injuries were related, putting deGrom on the IL "would be the approach that we take, but they're not. This is an isolated thing."
Rojas was asked about a number of things that could be behind deGrom’s issues, from how hard he swings the bat to the large number of high-velocity pitches he throws. He replied that the medical staff was digging in to find an answer but used the word "uncertain" about the cause.
DeGrom has shown frustration about these issues. It was obvious at Wednesday’s postgame news conference, when he said "it’s getting old, you know? I want to be out there competing."
"This is really tough on him to not be able to go out there and pitch his seven-to-nine innings every single time because he's gotten so used to that," Brandon Nimmo said. "I just want to try to encourage him . . . to not get too frustrated. He knows that he's the best in the game if he goes out there and is healthy and is able to pitch. It’s a very frustrating thing to know that's all that's keeping you from doing your job well."
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