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Jacob deGrom injury: Mets ace scratched from start with neck tightness

Jacob deGrom (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom announced that he’s been scratched from his start on Friday against the Philadelphia Phillies because of neck tightness.

After that start against Miami I had a bit of neck tightness,” deGrom said. “I didn’t think too much of it, thought it was going to be fine… it kind of lingered throughout the week and I wasn’t able to get off the mound.”

A timetable for his return has not been set, but he is hopeful that he can make his next start. However, he noted that it is “to be determined.”

“I debated on trying to go out there and trying to talk it over,” deGrom said, citing that he doesn’t want to put the Mets in a bad situation if the wait between innings causes issues. “Let’s make this hopefully a one-start thing and not really aggravate something.”

He intends to throw a bullpen session Sunday or Monday before taking the next steps.

Concern about deGrom’s health was already in question after his last start during Sunday’s win against the Miami Marlins. During a second inning that featured rare control issues, Mets trainers came out to check on deGrom’s finger. However, he stayed in the game. 

This is a completely different matter and one that is separate from a back-tightness issue that plagued deGrom just before the start of the 2020 season.

“This popped up out of nowhere. I’ve been feeling really good,” deGrom said. “I don’t know if I just slept on it wrong or what, but it just came out of nowhere. It’s really frustrating.”

Any loss of deGrom — regardless of length — could very well be the final, fatal blow for the Mets’ pitching staff in this truncated, 60-game season.

They lost Noah Syndergaard to Tommy John surgery for the season back in March while Marcus Stroman opted out of the 2020 season just as he was on the cusp of returning from a torn calf muscle. 

Michael Wacha is also on the 10-day injured list because of shoulder inflammation, leaving the Mets with just Steven Matz, Rick Porcello, David Peterson, and Robert Gsellman — a former starter-turned reliever who was forced to make his way back to the starting rotation because of the team’s depleted ranks. 

The Mets announced that Walker Lockett will make the spot start on Friday night in Philadelphia. In 13-career MLB appearances with the club, the 26-year-old righty has an 8.84 ERA. 

“He’s been apart of our bullpen the last two games to use him if we needed him, to be the length guy,” manager Luis Rojas said. “Having him fresh, his ability to provide length, it gave us the decision to have him go as a starter.”

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