The Mets received their first real injury scare of summer camp on Tuesday night when their ace, Jacob deGrom, left his intrasquad game’s start after just one inning due to back tightness.
Updates on the severity of the injury are expected to come later on Wednesday.
The two-time defending NL Cy Young Award winner was poised to throw multiple innings during Tuesday’s game, keeping up with the assumption that he would be ready for a full workload in the shortened 2020 season.
While speaking with reporters last week, deGrom said he threw 85 pitches during simulated action, citing a full offseason and coronavirus-hiatus workload that would allow him to immediately be able to hit that 100-pitch mark by Opening Day.
“I don’t take much time off, so it felt normal to keep throwing. I think the intensity was something that was new,” he admitted. “I don’t normally get in the bullpen and throw in the offseason; I usually wait till spring. But I was getting on the mound and throwing with intensity. I was able to get on the mound twice a week for I don’t know how many weeks … just trying to stay fresh.”
Even his manager, Luis Rojas, admitted that deGrom looked good, saying he was in “midseason form.”
“Jake was overmatching guys,” Rojas said last week. “His stuff was impressive.”
As mentioned before, it remains to be seen if deGrom’s status for Opening Day is in jeopardy, but back tightness has been common throughout the 32-year-old’s career. He most recently had to push back his 2018 season debut because of the same issue, though he came back and won his first of two-straight Cy Young Awards.
The Mets can’t afford to lose their ace at all during MLB’s 60-game schedule this year considering every game has increased value. After losing Noah Syndergaard to Tommy John surgery, deGrom will have to carry a pitching staff of Marcus Stroman, Rick Porcello, Michael Wacha and Steven Matz that is filled with question marks.