New York Metsâ€™ star Jacob deGrom talked to reporters on Thursday for the first time in weeks. As you can probably imagine, the health of his elbow and, specifically, his ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) was a hot topic in the conversation.
DeGrom hasnâ€™t pitched since early July with what was deemed at the time as forearm tightness. Then, it evolved to elbow inflammation, until the Metsâ€™ president of baseball operations Sandy Alderson talked a few days ago and referred to it as a â€œvery mildâ€ UCL sprain that â€œresolved itselfâ€.
During his brief meeting with reporters in Miami on September 9, deGrom said that his right UCL is “perfectly fine.”
â€œI know what we said, but my ligament is perfectly fine,” he explained, per SNY. “Iâ€™ve been throwing. I wouldnâ€™t be throwing if I had a compromised ligament. So thatâ€™s the plan to continue to throw and build up.â€
The Mets star is running out of time
DeGrom recently advanced to 120 feet in his catch progression, per Metsâ€™ manager Luis Rojas, who added that he should be throwing off the mound soon.
While speaking about the injury, Alderson had stated that â€œa sprain is the lowest grade partial tear. At this point, the sprain has resolved itself. The elbow, at this point, is perfectly intact based on the MRI and the critical evaluations of our doctors. Thatâ€™s just the technical term that the doctors have used.â€
The pitcher is eligible to return from the injured list on September 13th, but he wonâ€™t be ready by then. A start in late-September is the most realistic scenario at this point.
When deGrom was healthy, the Mets were first in the NL East division by multiple games. Today, New York is third with a 70-70 record, 5.0 games behind the Atlanta Braves for the top spot.
Degrom, the Metsâ€™ ace and quite possibly the best pitcher in the world, has a 1.08 ERA in 92 innings in 2021, with a mind-blowing 0.55 WHIP. Had he stayed healthy, he probably should have won his third Cy Young award.