Mets ace Jacob deGrom has been out since Spring Training with a stress fracture on his scapula, but is progressing in his recovery according to team doctors.
When the injury was first discovered the team expected he would be out just four weeks, but after being reevaluated this month, the conclusion was made that he will miss much more time than that. This week, he was moved from the 15-day IL to the 60-day IL, meaning he is off the 40-man roster. The news, as grim as it is, allowed for New York to claim reliever Locke St. John off waivers.
The good news is that recovery is going well for the 2x Cy Young Award winner. deGrom underwent an MRI on Monday that revealed “considerable healing of the stress reaction on his scapula,” according to team officials. Mets doctors have since cleared deGrom “to begin loading and strengthening of the shoulder,” which is the first step before he begins throwing again.
When it comes to stress fractures, the scapula is one of the rarest locations they occur, making up approximately 1% of all fractures. However, there have been a number of pitchers who have suffered similar injuries as deGrom. Edwin Correa dealt with one in 1987, Kurt Ainsworth in 2003, Brandon McCarthy in 2009, and – maybe most notably – Michael Wacha in 2014.
Wacha suffered the injury in late June and didn’t pitch again until early September. He pitched four games to close out the season, but never lasted longer than the fifth inning. Wacha looked decent though, and carried a lot of that momentum into the offseason. His 2015 campaign earned him an All-Star selection and he finished the season 17-7 with a 3.08 ERA.
His ability to bounce back from the scapular stress fracture should give hope to Mets and deGrom fans alike; deGrom is a freak athlete, and is a significantly better pitcher than Wacha (no offense intended).
His recovery will progress to throwing in the coming weeks, at which time we will understand the true severity of his injury. He is set to receive another MRI in three weeks, and If deGrom doesn’t progress to throwing by that point, he will likely be out until mid-to-late June.