Pitchers and catchers are reporting to camp this week, getting spring training started in Major League Baseball. We're going to see a litany of nagging-type injuries that likely have zero impact on the regular season, especially if something happens this early with several weeks before getting close to the actual games.
Sometimes, though, things happen that should garner attention, even if it's just a little bit.
Strasburg started to throw off a mound a few weeks ago and got through his first session without concern. His second time around, however, he felt a "return of the nerve issue," reports Mark Zuckerman of MASN. Strasburg had surgery to alleviate neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome in 2021 and returned to make one start last season before going back on the injured list for the rest of the season.
Thoracic outlet syndrome has ruined a good number of pitching careers, so there's at least concern he'll never return to fully functional on the mound. In 2019, he was 18-6 with a 3.32 ERA and 251 strikeouts in an NL-best 209 innings. He was then dominant in six postseason appearances (five starts) and won MVP in the Nationals' first-ever World Series title. He signed a seven-year, $245 million deal to remain with the Nats the ensuing offseason, but he's only managed eight starts in the three seasons since.
As for deGrom, he signed a five-year, $185 million deal with the Rangers this past offseason after spending nine big-league years with the Mets. He did not throw his first official bullpen session as a member of the Rangers Wednesday, as he has been dealing with left oblique tightness, according to the Rangers (via Rangers Today).
deGrom has arguably been the single best pitcher in baseball since the beginning of the 2018 season. In 102 starts in that time, he has a 2.05 ERA, 2.14 FIP and 0.87 WHIP with 876 strikeouts in 645 1/3 innings. He won the 2018 and 2019 NL Cy Young and you could make the case he should have won it in 2020. He then had a 1.08 ERA through 15 starts in 2021, but injury struck. Since the 2021 All-Star break, deGrom has only made 12 starts, including the 2022 playoffs.
Among the injuries in the last season and a half have been right forearm tightness, right elbow soreness and a stress reaction in his right shoulder.
If Rangers fans are looking for any silver lining here, the issue now is in deGrom's left oblique. Still, it's a bit of an eyebrow raiser.