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Jacob deGrom and his Battles with Injuries

Jacob deGrom has earned a well-deserved reputation as one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball, but injuries are keeping him sidelined.

The world of baseball is undoubtedly more exhilarating when SP Jacob deGrom is at his best, showcasing his pitching prowess on the mound. However, the two-time Cy Young Award recipient has had an unfortunate history of injuries that has left fans and experts alike concerned about his future in the sport. In this extensive overview, we will delve into the various setbacks that have plagued deGrom’s career and explore a timeline of his injuries, as well as discuss the potential implications they may have on his future in Major League Baseball.

Early Career and First Tommy John Surgery for deGrom

Four months after the Mets drafted Jacob deGrom, he had to get his first Tommy John surgery. This procedure, which reconstructs the ulnar collateral ligament in the elbow, forced him to miss the entire 2011 season while he recovered. This initial setback foreshadowed things to come, as a series of injuries would continue to punctuate deGrom’s career.

2016: Ulnar Nerve Surgery

After winning Rookie of the Year in 2014 and leading the Mets to the 2015 Fall Classic, deGrom ran into trouble. In September 2016, deGrom’s season came to an abrupt end when it was announced that he required surgery to repair the ulnar nerve in his elbow. While this procedure did not involve another Tommy John surgery, it nevertheless sidelined him for the remainder of the season, dashing any hopes of a Mets return to the World Series.

2017-2019: Two Cy Young Awards and a Healthy Streak

Fortunately, deGrom’s fortunes took a turn for the better from 2017 to 2019, as he managed to stay healthy and make at least 31 starts in each of these seasons. Over this period, he posted an impressive 2.53 ERA across 622⅓ innings and was awarded two Cy Young Awards.

During these two years, everything that people had been saying for years was confirmed. deGrom, when healthy, is one of the most dangerous pitchers in MLB. When deGrom was able to string together full seasons, he showed that there are levels to this game and there were not many other people on the same level as him. He was the best pitcher in the world during this stretch.

2020: A COVID-Shortened Season with Minor Issues

The 2020 season, which was shortened due to the COVID-19 pandemic, saw deGrom experience some minor neck and hamstring issues. Despite these setbacks, he only missed one start for the Mets, demonstrating his resilience and determination to remain on the field. He threw 68 strong innings and led the NL in strikeouts, resulting in a third-place finish in Cy Young voting.

2021: A Historic Start Marred by Injuries

In June 2021, deGrom was in the midst of a historically dominant start to the season. He was forced to exit back-to-back starts due to minor arm injuries. Although he pitched on normal rest following these shortened outings and allowed just one hit over five innings against the Atlanta Braves, his injury woes were far from over.

In July 2021, at the start of the second half of the season, the team placed deGrom on the Injured List due to forearm tightness. He entered June with an ERA under 1.00 but did not get to prove whether he had the best season ever. He was unable to return to the field in 2021, concluding the year with an extraordinary 1.08 ERA across 92 innings of work.

2022: Shoulder Stress Reaction and Late Season Return

deGrom’s injury concerns persisted into 2022 when he suffered a stress reaction in his shoulder during Spring Training. This setback forced him to miss several months of play, and he ultimately made his season debut on August 2. He threw 64.1 innings with a 3.08 ERA. deGrom was still quite effective, but not at his best from before the ’21 forearm tightness.

2023: Texas Rangers and Elbow Inflammation

In 2023, deGrom signed with the Texas Rangers as a prized free-agent acquisition. Regrettably, his injury troubles persisted. He suffered a minor injury at the beginning of Spring Training. After only making six starts, the team placed him on the 15-day Injured List in April due to elbow inflammation.

In June, the team transferred deGrom to the 60-day Injured List and announced that he would require a second Tommy John Surgery. This will sideline him for the remainder of the 2023 season and likely much of 2024 as well.

Second Tommy John Surgery and Recovery Time 

The average recovery time for pitchers who undergo Tommy John surgery ranges from 12 to 16 months. While teams typically exercise caution with young pitchers recovering from this procedure, deGrom, who turns 36 in June 2024, may not have the luxury of time on his side. He has expressed his intention to return to the field in 2024, but the typical timeline suggests that he may not be able to do so until after the All-Star break at the earliest, assuming his recovery proceeds as planned.

The Future of Jacob deGrom

Given his history of injuries, it is impossible to predict with certainty what the future holds for Jacob deGrom. His undeniable talent and determination to overcome physical setbacks have earned him a place among the elite pitchers in MLB. Fans and experts alike will be eagerly watching his recovery from his second Tommy John Surgery. The hope is he can make a successful return to the mound and continue to dazzle baseball enthusiasts with his remarkable skills.

When Jacob deGrom signed with the Rangers, they included a clause in his contract for injuries. The clause states that if deGrom were to miss a lengthy part of the season due to an elbow or shoulder injury, the tail end of the contract would have an additional season added. This means we will see deGrom in a Rangers jersey until 2028 now. The hope is that after this surgery there will be a resurgence of the great deGrominator.

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