The sky was briefly falling faster than it normally does for Mets fans on Friday when it was announced that Jacob deGrom would be getting an MRI on his elbow. Last year’s National League Cy Young winner said that he felt like it was “barking” after throwing the ball for a bit earlier in the day. But despite concerns that this was going to end up as a worst-case scenario (i.e. Tommy John surgery), deGrom was apparently fine enough to play some catch in Busch Field on Saturday.
Mets manager Mickey Callaway told reporters that the team even decided against getting an MRI on deGrom’s elbow because he felt alright after initial rounds of treatment. The New York pitcher, whose start was initially moved from Saturday to Sunday because of strep throat, blamed the issues on the change in schedule his illness caused.
“I had been sick since Atlanta, kind of had a whole body soreness. For me when I don’t throw, it seems that things pop up. I wasn’t on a normal routine. I was trying to just get enough in to be able to make my starts and I just felt a little soreness in my elbow. I decided to say something. Talked it over with Mickey and Dave [Eiland] and we decided it’s early in the season, I’ve been sick. What’s the point in trying to push it? After getting some treatment yesterday and getting things moving around it started to feel a little elbow. So I decided to throw today and actually felt good with how it went.”
A big reason for the initial concern stems from his recent string of performances. In his last two outings deGrom has given up five home runs on 13 hits, nine earned runs, five walks and 12 strikeouts over nine innings. It also doesn’t help that he had Tommy John surgery in 2010. But given his experience with the latter, it was easy for deGrom to dismiss those concerns. He said the issues with his elbow are not anywhere close to what they were when he needed that surgery. He’ll be seeing a doctor in New York on Monday, but he hopes to be ready to pitch sometime next week once his stint on the IL is done.
If the scenario of a recently-paid Mets pitcher refusing an MRI and hoping to play as soon as possible after feeling some pain in his elbow sounds familiar, it’s because it is. deGrom’s current timeline is eerily similar to that of Noah Syndergaard’s last season—a player whose injury woes included a disease that’s common among infants and toddlers. But I’m sure the Mets learned a lot from that experience and will get things right this time around.