By JAKE SEINER
AP Baseball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — Mets ace Jacob deGrom says his injured right shoulder blade feels “completely normal,” and he’s waiting for New York’s medical staff to clear him to resume throwing off a mound.
DeGrom has been sidelined since late in spring training with a stress reaction in his scapula. The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner played catch Friday out to 135 feet, but he’s still not sure when he’ll throw his first bullpen or be ready for game action.
“I feel completely normal,” he said Saturday prior to New York’s game against Philadelphia. “So I think that’s where it’s going to be like, do we push it? Do we not? That’ll be the discussion over the next few days, and when we get on the mound, what is the safest way to go about this?”
The 33-year-old deGrom believes the stress reaction occurred because spring training was delayed and shortened to four weeks following baseball’s 99-day lockout. DeGrom also missed the second half of the 2021 season with an elbow injury, compounding the strain on his body to prepare quickly for 2022.
“When I look at it, you got a short ramp up and you haven’t pitched competitively in, what, eight months?” he said. “So I felt like that’s probably what did it for me.”
DeGrom said his shoulder felt normal with a couple weeks of rest. He’s had several rounds of MRIs, and his most recent imaging showed full healing in his shoulder blade. He doesn’t anticipate needing another MRI but says he’s leaving that decision up to the Mets’ medical team.
He says he doesn’t have trepidation about aggravating the stress reaction.
“You know, normally, bone heals stronger,” he said. “The last report was good, and they said it was completely healed. So now, just making sure it handles the throwing and that nothing pops up.”
The Mets, of course, have largely been fine without deGrom. They lead the NL East with a 30-17 record, even after fellow ace Max Scherzer went down this month with an oblique strain expected to sideline him for six to eight weeks.
DeGrom is signed through 2023 on a $137.5 million, five-year deal that includes a club option of $32.5 million for 2024, but he can opt out of the contract after this season.
DeGrom acknowledged that being healthy for September and October might take priority over a swift return if New York remains on track for the postseason.
“It stinks not being out there,” he said. “That’s what we love doing, competing, and haven’t been able to compete in quite some time. So that’s where it’s like, you want to go out, you want to go probably more than you’re supposed to, but then you got to look at it as, if you go too early, you’re going to end up missing more time. So it’s trying to balance all that.”
NOTES: Mets CF Brandon Nimmo had an MRI on his right wrist Saturday that came back clean, but he was held out of the lineup. Manager Buck Showalter said he expected Nimmo might get an injection, but he doesn’t anticipate New York’s leadoff hitter will miss significant time. … RHP Yoan Lopez was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse, and OF Nick Plummer was called up.
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