Earlier this week the New York Mets were given a scare when reigning two-time Cy Young award winner Jacob deGrom had to leave Tuesday's intrasquad game after only one inning. He grimaced and was in noticeable discomfort as he walked off the field.
Here's deGrom as he exited the game:
Later that night the Mets announced deGrom was dealing with back tightness, and tests Wednesday revealed no major issues. DeGrom said the discomfort was "out of the blue," and on Thursday he declared himself good to go. He said the plan remains to "pitch on Opening Day."
"Sunday I threw a bullpen, felt great. Monday was the off-day, didn't really do anything," deGrom said during a conference call. "And then Tuesday when I went to throw it was pretty tight so I decided to say something out of an abundance of caution to stay healthy. Wasn't really planning on getting an image of it but just said hey, let's go ahead and make sure everything's fine. Checked all the boxes and the plan is to pitch Opening Day."
DeGrom will throw a bullpen session Thursday and, if all goes well, he will throw 60-65 pitches in Sunday night's exhibition game against the Yankees. That would put him on track to throw 80-85 pitches on Opening Day. The Mets open the regular season at home against the Braves next Friday. Sportsline projects New York as a 31-win team during the 60-game season.
The Mets will be without Noah Syndergaard this season as he rehabs from Tommy John surgery. DeGrom is the club's undisputed ace and he will be followed in the rotation by Marcus Stroman, Rick Porcello, Steven Matz, and Michael Wacha in some order. Righties Walker Lockett and Corey Oswalt are the club's depth starters.
The 32-year-old deGrom posted a 2.43 ERA with a National League-leading 255 strikeouts in 204 innings last year en route to his second straight Cy Young award. This season he could join Hall of Famers Randy Johnson and Greg Maddux as the only pitchers ever to win three straight Cy Youngs (Johnson and Maddux each won four straight).