Even during the All-Star break, the Mets are getting some concerning injury news.
Star pitcher Jacob deGrom experienced mild muscle soreness around his right shoulder on Sunday, per the team, which forced his simulated game from Tuesday to Thursday.
The Mets implored that the move was made out of an abundance of caution as he played catch on Monday and Tuesday without issue, however, it remains to be seen if this will push back his prospects of returning to a big-league mound for the first time in over a calendar year.
Had deGrom thrown his sim game without issue on Tuesday, he could have potentially could have been starting for the Mets on Sunday against the San Diego Padres or on Tuesday for a two-game series opener against the Yankees.
Tuesday’s game against the cross-town rivals is still in play, but that would be on exactly five days’ rest — and considering how the Mets have handled deGrom’s rehab with supreme care, it might be a bit of a longshot.
Injuries have derailed the two-time Cy Young Award winner’s Hall of Fame momentum as the most dominant pitcher in baseball. He hasn’t appeared in a game for the Mets since July 7, 2021 when he was sidelined for the remainder of the season due to an elbow issue.
The 33-year-old returned to spring training healthy and poised to lead a pitching staff supported by Max Scherzer, but a stress reaction in his right scapula forced the team to shut him down.
Mets manager Buck Showalter teased last month that deGrom’s rehab had been going well, stating that he hit all of his checkpoints and began looking more and more confident.
“You can tell he’s upbeat about where he is,” Showalter said at the time. “The body language more than anything… I wish I’d seen him more up close and personal but he’s where you’d expect from a guy who’s getting closer. He’s enamored with what’s going on right now.”
That demeanor has since taken a bit of a downturn as deGrom pitched well during three rehab starts. He hadn’t allowed a run in 8.2 innings of work.
“It hasn’t been that much fun,” deGrom said last week (h/t MLB.com). “I’m trying to stick to the process. I want to be up there helping the [Mets]… With this injury, it was kind of cut and dried — ‘Hey, you’ve got to take this amount of time and slowly work your way back.’ It stinks being out, but getting close now, so [I’m] definitely ready to be back up there.”