NEW YORK — As he neared what could have been a season debut as soon as this weekend, Jacob deGrom experienced an issue that’s now threatening to push back his timeline.
deGrom began feeling mild muscle soreness around his right shoulder on Sunday, according to a team spokesman. He played catch on Monday and Tuesday without issue, “but out of an abundance of caution, we opted to move his simulated game to Thursday.”
That sim game was originally scheduled for Tuesday, which would have lined up the two-time Cy Young Award Winner to return to the Majors either Sunday against the Padres or July 26 against the Yankees. If deGrom indeed completes his sim game on Thursday, he could still conceivably come off the injured list as soon as July 26. But such a timeline seems unlikely, given that a cautious approach would involve giving deGrom at least five days of rest between starts.
On top of that, the Mets could still ask deGrom to make an additional Minor League rehab start before returning. That would push his debut into August.
deGrom has not pitched in more than a year due to a combination of arm issues, including a stress reaction in his right scapula that has cost him the entirety of this season. Last year, deGrom missed the entire second half due to right elbow soreness. He has not appeared in a Major League game since July 7, 2021.
When he’s been able to pitch, deGrom has looked like himself, delivering 8 2/3 scoreless innings during three Minor League rehab starts and five innings of one-run ball in Spring Training. But his health has not lasted.
“It hasn’t been that much fun,” deGrom said after his most recent Minor League outing on Thursday. “I’m trying to stick to the process. I want to be up there helping them [Mets]. … With this injury, it was kind of cut and dried — ‘Hey, you’ve got to take this amount of time and slowly work your way back.’ It stinks being out, but getting close now, so [I’m] definitely ready to be back up there.”