PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. (AP) — While the New York Mets wait to see when Max Scherzer will pitch, fellow ace Jacob deGrom admitted to being blindsided by the diagnosis that he won’t throw for a while.
“I’m really frustrated,” deGrom said Sunday, two days after an MRI revealed a stress reaction and inflammation around his right shoulder blade.
The two-time Cy Young Award winner is shut down from tossing for up to four weeks. Factoring in recovery and ramp-up time, he likely could miss at least two months before returning to the Mets’ rotation.
Scherzer’s status, meanwhile, is still uncertain as opening day Thursday in Washington against the Nationals approaches.
The 37-year-old Scherzer revealed Saturday that he had a tight right hamstring, an injury he has battled throughout his career.
Manager Buck Showalter said the team will soon get an indication of when the three-time Cy Young Award winner will be available.
“We’ll have a pretty good idea on Tuesday when Max is scheduled to throw a side,” Showalter said before an 8-4 win over Miami. “Once we go there, we’ll have a pretty good idea what direction we’re going.”
Showalter said Scherzer could “conceivably” get the opening-day nod against his former Nationals teammates, but sounded like he would pass over him instead.
“That’s still being debated by other people,” Showalter said. “I know where I would pitch him. I told you I’m not going to disrupt the whole rotation if there’s a bump here or there. If there’s a double-bump, you have to think about some things.”
The organization doesn’t want to break up the back three starters — Chris Bassitt, Carlos Carrasco and Taijuan Walker — leading to speculation that Tylor Megill or David Peterson could start the first game.
Megill threw a bullpen Sunday and was unsure and equally unfazed about Thursday’s possibility.
“I’m just as clueless as you guys are right now,” said the right-handed Megill, who was 4-6 with a 4.52 ERA in 18 starts last year. “(Opening day) is just another game, another start. Treat it as that.”
The only certainty among starters who won’t throw the Mets’ first pitch of 2022 is deGrom.
In his first media appearance since Friday’s diagnosis, deGrom said he didn’t anticipate the news.
“I came into camp feeling really good. Felt like my elbow and shoulder were in a good spot,” he said. “The stress reaction in the bone was definitely something I was not expecting.”
DeGrom went 7-2 with a 1.08 ERA in 15 starts last season. After pitching on July 7, an elbow injury sidelined him for the rest of the year.
The 33-year-old deGrom appeared back in top form over two spring starts: five innings of one-run ball, allowing five hits and striking out 10 without issuing a walk.
Prepping for his next start, the trouble started.
“I threw a bullpen and felt good,” he said. “I went to play catch and felt a little something in my shoulder. Honestly, I was expecting to hear ’take a couple days off and you’ll be ready to go,’” he said. “I was really caught off-guard and really frustrated.”
The four-time All-Star reiterated he intended to exercise his contract’s opt-out clause at the season’s end.
NOTES: The Mets exchanged relievers with the New York Yankees, trading RHP Miguel Castro to the AL club for LHP Joely Rodriguez. “We were looking for a trade partner and oddly enough it was across town,” Mets GM Billy Eppler said” … RHPs Carrasco and Walker are scheduled for the final two spring training starts in West Palm Beach on Monday and Tuesday in preparation for next weekend’s games in Washington.