DeGrom Hits the Injured List
The biggest news of the day on Friday was the Mets placing RHP Jacob deGrom on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to April 16, with right elbow soreness. DeGrom is headed back to New York to undergo an MRI after his elbow was "barking" when he played catch, per Mets manager Mickey Callaway. The Mets are currently downplaying the news but this has to be a major concern for Mets fans and deGrom's fantasy owners. He was the best pitcher in baseball last season and won the National League Cy Young Award despite winning only 10 games. He had a 1.70 ERA and 0.91 WHIP in 32 starts. He struck out a career-high 269 batters against just 46 walks in 217 innings. He allowed only 10 home runs.
Fantasy owners used an early draft pick to obtain him for their teams this year -- his average draft position was the 12th pick in Yahoo drafts this spring -- so losing him for any length of time is going to sting. The obvious fear with an elbow injury is that he will require surgery and miss the rest of the season. DeGrom has experienced elbow problems in the past. He underwent Tommy John surgery in 2010 and ulnar nerve transposition surgery in 2016.
DeGrom has been suffering from strep throat this week, which disrupted his throwing program and caused him to be scratched from his scheduled Friday start. Mets manager Mickey Callaway said deGrom developed some soreness in the elbow on Thursday. General manager Matt Van Wagenen said the soreness was mild and that deGrom's elbow felt better on Friday. The team is proceeding very cautiously and will send their ace back to New York for an MRI exam on Monday. Van Wagenen indicated they believe the issue is minor and that deGrom could return from the injured list as soon as he is eligible on April 26th. Obviously, the truth won't be known until after the MRI exam, which makes for a nervous weekend for deGrom's fantasy owners.
What is worrisome is that deGrom wasn't his usual dominant self in his last two starts. He gave up five home runs and nine earned runs in his last nine innings pitched. Perhaps his elbow has been barking a bit longer than he and the Mets are letting on? He was excellent in his first two starts, tossing 13 shutout innings with 24 strikeouts before faltering in his next two starts. On the plus side his velocity has not declined. His 96.6 mph fastball velocity this year is actually slightly higher than last year and it didn't drop off in his two recent poor starts.
Early in the offseason the Mets signed deGrom to a $17 million salary for 2019, which was nearly $10 million higher than his 2018 salary and broke a record for the largest raise ever for an arbitration-eligible player. Later in the offseason they upped the ante and signed deGrom to a five-year, $137.5 million contract extension. It could be remarkably bad timing for the team if deGrom is forced to undergo career-threatening elbow surgery.
** Phillies outfielder Andrew McCutchen is dealing with left knee inflammation. He was lifted from Friday's game against the Rockies due to the issue and likely won't play on Saturday.
** Pirates outfielder Starling Marte and shortstop Erik Gonzalez crashed into each other when chasing a shallow pop fly on Friday. Gonzalez had to leave the game but was able to walk off the field on his own. Marte had to be carted off the field. He may have suffered a knee injury. The Pirates will likely provide an update on his condition on Saturday.
** Pirates starter Jordan Lyles (hand) said after Friday's game that he fully expects to make his next scheduled start against the Diamondbacks on Wednesday. Lyles was clipped in the pitching hand by a line drive during the game against the Giants. He pitched six shutout innings before departing. He's allowed just one run in 17 innings through three starts. He has a 19:5 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
** Phillies infielder Scott Kingery was forced to leave Friday's game against the Rockies with a right hamstring injury. There is no word yet on the severity of the injury. He is slashing a robust .406/.457/.719 with a pair of homers, six RBI and a stolen base on the season.
** Angels' general manager Billy Eppler said Friday that Shohei Ohtani (elbow) will begin facing live pitching next week. He is approximately three weeks away from a return to the Angels. He will play exclusively as a designated hitter this year. He won't pitch until next season.
** Cardinal outfielder Tyler O'Neill (elbow) is expected to be activated from the injured list after 10 days or close to it. O'Neill is dealing with a right elbow ulnar nerve subluxation. He is eligible to come off the injured list as soon as April 26th.
** Cardinal outfielder Harrison Bader (hamstring) is expected back from the injured list when his 10 days are up, which would be April 24th.
** Rays infielder Joey Wendle (hamstring) said he feels ready to be activated from the injured list after playing in a second extended spring training game.
** Yankee third baseman Miguel Andujar (shoulder) is ramping up his throwing program. He is recovering from a labrum tear in his right shoulder. The team may use him at first base or designated hitter upon his return.
** Yankee catcher Gary Sanchez (calf) hit, ran, played catch and caught a bullpen session on Friday. He is only a couple of days away from being activated.
** Red Sox veteran second baseman Dustin Pedroia (knee) expects to be activated from the injured list when his 10 days are up. He was placed back on the injured list after feeling a pop in his surgically-repaired left knee Wednesday. He is unlikely to provide much fantasy value after his return.
** Cubs starter Jon Lester (hamstring) is expected to throw a simulated game soon. He should rejoin the Cubs' rotation within a week or two.
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