The Mets have officially scratched ace Jacob de Grom from today’s scheduled Grapefruit League appearance, tweets Mike Puma of the New York Post. He’ll instead undergo an MRI after experiencing tightness in his right shoulder while playing catch yesterday. While there’s no indication yet that deGrom is dealing with a major injury or expected to miss significant time, the mere fact that he’s been scratched in favor of imaging is an obvious source of concern.
Expected to pair with newly signed Max Scherzer to form one of the great one-two punches, the 33-year-old deGrom has already cemented himself as one of the most talented pitchers of this generation. If he does miss time with this shoulder ailment, however, it’ll mark a second straight season with an absence due to arm-related injuries.
In 2021, deGrom appeared well on his way to a third Cy Young in four years, pitching to an inhuman 1.08 ERA with a 45.1% strikeout rate against just a 3.4% walk rate through his first 92 innings. He hit the injured list with a forearm strain in early July, however. The injury wasn’t initially believed to be season-ending in nature, but after a series of setbacks and delays in his rehab work, the Mets eventually shut de Grom down for the season in late September.
For the time being, the Mets will send non-roster righty Felix Pena to the hill to make today’s spring start. Manager Buck Showalter is speaking with reporters on the matter and indicated that deGrom’s MRI will be currently conducted around 9:30am ET (twitter link via Deesha Thosar of the New York Daily News). No determination on deGrom’s availability for Opening Day will be made until that imaging is performed. DeGrom felt the tightness in his shoulder on the final few throws of a long-toss session yesterday, Showalter added.
The Mets are relying on deGrom, Scherzer, trade acquisition Chris Bassitt, taijuan walker and Carlos Carrasco to handle the bulk of rotation work this season, though they have several solid depth options beyond that quintet. Tylor Megill, David Peterson and Jordan Yamamoto are all on the 40-man roster already, while veteran southpaw Mike Montgomery gives them another experienced option who’s in camp as a non-roster invitee.