New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom he will miss Opening Day after an imaging test showed a stress reaction in his right shoulder blade.
In a statement, the Mets said deGrom will not pitch for another four weeks and then will be re-evaluated.
DeGrom, 33, is widely considered the best pitcher in baseball. In 15 starts last season, he posted a 1.08 ERA and in 92 innings he struck out 146 batters and walked just 11. But a variety of injuries caused him to miss starts and sore elbow sidelined him for the entire second half.
The scapula, or shoulder blade, is a vital bone in the throwing process. Stress reactions, which are injuries to bones typically caused by repetitive motion, are rare in pitchers’ shoulders. Stress reactions usually heal with rest.
In 2014, the starting pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals Michael Wach he suffered a stress reaction in his right shoulder in mid-June. He returned to the Cardinals’ rotation on September 4.
DeGrom, who won back-to-back NL Cy Young Awards in 2018-19 and finished ninth in the voting last season even with only half a season of games, was expected to play a big role in the Mets’ efforts to unseat defending World Series champion Atlanta Braves, who have won four straight NL East titles. New York signed former Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer to a three-year, $130 million deal this winter to pair with deGrom at the top of his rotation. Scherzer is now expected to start Thursday against the Nationals on Opening Day.
In his two starts this spring, deGrom had shone, allowing one run in five innings and striking out 10 without walking. He felt tightness in his right shoulder Thursday, prompting the team to request an MRI of deGrom’s arm Friday morning.
While the shoulder, a tangle of overlapping muscles, looked clean, the bone caused enough concern to sideline deGrom for the start of what could be his last season with the Mets. He has said he plans to opt out of his contract after this season, during which he will be paid $33.5 million, but added that he “loves being a Met” and “it would be great to be one for my entire career.”
A ninth-round pick in the 2010 draft by New York, deGrom has a career record of 77-53 with a 2.50 ERA and 1,505 strikeouts in 1,261.2 innings.
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DeGrom inactivated due to shoulder stress reaction