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While plenty is still up in the air regarding Jacob deGrom’s drawn-out elbow injury, one thing was made clear on Thursday: deGrom is insisting that his UCL is in good health.
“I know what was said, but my ligament is perfectly fine,” deGrom told reporters in Miami. “And I’ve been throwing. So I don’t think, you know, I wouldn’t be throwing if I had a compromised ligament. That’s the plan, to continue to throw and build up and see where we end up. And that’s all I’m going to say.”
DeGrom, who spoke to reporters on Thursday for the first time in over a month, was referencing team president/GM Sandy Alderson’s recent public comments about the pitcher’s elbow.
Alderson told reporters earlier this week that deGrom had been dealing with a sprain that “has resolved itself” at this point. DeGrom last started for the Mets on July 7. He had been on the IL with what the team had called “elbow inflammation” or “tightness” until Alderson revealed on Tuesday the injury was actually a small tear of his UCL.
It is unclear from deGrom’s statement whether he disagrees with Alderson’s terminology of his injury, or if he was just not comfortable with the details of his UCL being released to the public. But both the two-time Cy Young winner and Alderson seem to agree that deGrom’s elbow injury is not a serious issue at this point. Alderson also said deGrom’s UCL is “perfectly intact.”
DeGrom started playing catch two weeks ago and the Mets hope he can pitch for them again this season, though that is a best-case scenario that is far from a certainty. A good test for deGrom will be when he advances to throwing off a mound. The Mets expect that next step to take place soon, but the team has not provided a target date.
An astounding aspect of deGrom’s injury is that the Mets continue to be stumped by the origin of it. Alderson said the club and its medical professionals will investigate whether the injury is the result of a mechanical issue. It is of course difficult to examine deGrom’s mechanics until he is cleared to do more than just play catch.
“My point is we need to begin to see whether this is more of a chronic issue that relates to mechanics in some way,” Alderson said on Tuesday. “But the more we know going into next season, the better off we’ll be.”
The Mets ace departed for the injured list in July after a tremendous first half. DeGrom led MLB in ERA (1.08) and WHIP (0.554) in 15 starts and 92 innings. He was well on his way to locking down his third Cy Young award in four years before injuries disrupted an otherwise historical season.
His sprained right UCL is the fifth different injury he sustained this year. DeGrom said in July that his previous four injuries—back stiffness, right lat and side tightness, right flexor tendinitis and right shoulder soreness—were the result of swinging at the plate. He said then that his elbow injury was not the result of hitting.
“I don’t think this one was on a swing,” he said on July 18. “I think we had kind of fixed that. I think it was just something that didn’t recover.”