The best rotation in MLB is one step closer to adding baseball’s best pitcher back into the mix.
Jacob deGrom is set to undergo a follow-up MRI on the stress reaction in his right scapula on Monday. The MRI will take place in Florida, where deGrom has spent the majority of his time since the Mets began their season on April 7.
If all goes well for deGrom following his first shoulder images since he learned of his injury, he should presumably be cleared to return to throwing. DeGrom still has a full ramp-up ahead of him whenever he does receive that permission to begin baseball activities again.
“Everything is going very well,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said on Tuesday. “They’re very happy with where he’s at right now.”
The MRI will take place roughly three and a half weeks after deGrom was told he’d be shut down from picking up a baseball for up to a month. The Mets front office was careful not to place deGrom on the 60-day injured list when planning the Opening Day roster, in hopes the ace would be healthy enough to return to the rotation around early June, which would be a best-case-scenario timeline.
DeGrom traveled to New York last week to join the Mets for their home opener against the Diamondbacks. He also participated in a special ceremony for the unveiling of Tom Seaver’s statue, now installed next to the Home Run Apple at the front entrance to Citi Field. DeGrom returned to Florida on Saturday to continue his rehab at the team’s Clover Park facility in Port St. Lucie.
The Mets ace was, notably, in great spirits on Friday at Citi Field as he detailed his next steps toward a return. His teammate, Dominic Smith, had a chance to catch up with the injured right-hander.
“He’s doing good. I know he’s excited about coming back,” Smith said. “Jake is loving the new energy from our front office, from our manager, from our players. The way we’re playing the game of baseball, how hard we’re playing, and then obviously winning. Everybody loves winning and we can’t wait to get him back out there. But he’s in great spirits.
Smith added: “It must be weird for him watching Mets games from home though.”
If anything, it’s weird to see a deGrom-less pitching staff overcome a major loss so well and so early. The Mets rotation should be commended for its strong effort to start the season.
Mets starters entered Tuesday with a 1.07 ERA, the best in MLB, and a 6-0 record across its first 10 games. Those six earned runs allowed across 50.1 innings by the Mets rotation made up for the best 10-game start since the advent of the earned run in 1913, per Sportradar. In addition to ERA, the rotation entered Tuesday leading the majors in opponent’s batting average (.158).
Despite the rotation’s terrific effort, the Mets are looking forward to a deGrom return as soon as he is healthy. Talk about a Mets rotation that will go from scary to downright menacing.
Buck Showalter will miss the Mets’ game against the Giants on Wednesday due to a medical procedure, the skipper announced after Tuesday’s doubleheader.
Since bench coach Glenn Sherlock is also sidelined with COVID-19, Showalter said the Mets will go with a manager-by-committee on Wednesday. A combination of pitching coach Jeremy Hefner and hitting coach Eric Chavez are some of the coaches who will help fill in for Showalter, who hopes to return on Thursday.
WALKER SET FOR REHAB START
Taijuan Walker (right shoulder bursitis) will make a rehab start with the St. Lucie Mets on Wednesday. The right-hander, who was placed on the injured list on April 12, is expected to stretch out to around 50 pitches.
Showalter was noncommittal when asked if Walker will return to the rotation after just the one rehab start. Walker will meet the team in Arizona this weekend, and the Mets will then re-evaluate whether he will require one more outing to stretch out and increase his pitch count before giving him the clearance to come off the IL.
Walker pitched two perfect innings against the Phillies in his season debut on April 11. He left the game with pain in his right shoulder, which an MRI revealed was bursitis. Walker has said that his right knee, which had bothered him in his final Grapefruit League start last month, is no longer an issue.