The justifiably cynical Mets fan had a “here we go again” moment with the news that the star pitcher Jacob de Grom would begin the 2022 season shelved due to inflammation in his right (throwing) shoulder. The 33-year-old will miss his scheduled Opening Day start this afternoon against the Washington Nationals on the road. The Mets announced last Friday that there is no definitive time for de Grom’s return and that he would not throw for up to four weeks.
“He’s disappointed. We’re disappointed. Everybody is sharing in the disappointment right now. Nobody’s immune to that,” said Mets General Manager Billy Eppler from the team’s spring training site in Jupiter, Florida.
Mets manager Buck Showalter took an optimistic view of de Grom’s setback. “Sure, we were hoping that it was a two- or three-day thing. I know Jake was. It’s a little more time, obviously,” he said. “I look at it as now, thinking about how much stronger Jake is going to be over the long haul of the season now.”
Eppler also looked at what could be a worrisome situation through a positive prism. “I think the good news here, there is nothing structurally wrong here, as far as the rotator cuff or anything like that is concerned,” conveyed the first-year GM.
“We are dealing with a bone issue and when you are dealing with bone, they calcify. The healing characteristics will take [care] of themselves, so I think that’s a positive that we walk away with.”
A four-time All-Star and two-time Cy Young Award winner in 2018 and 2019, de Grom was dominant last season until being shut down in early July as a result of an elbow injury. Nicknamed “The deGrominator,” in 15 starts the DeLand, Florida native was nearly unhittable, going 7-2 with a 1.08 ERA.
After signing future Hall of Fame righty Max Scherzer to a three-year, $130 million dollar deal last November and then trading for Oakland A’s righty ace Chris Bassit last month, the Mets were set to have one of the best rotations in baseball. Now with de Grom’s status uncertain, it could be another season of what if for a team that is seeking its first playoff appearance since losing the wild-card game to the San Francisco Giants in 2016.
The Mets were 77-85 last season, third in the National League East, finishing 11.5 games behind the eventual World Series champion Atlanta Braves. They begin this season playing their first seven games on the road, starting with four in Washington (today through Sunday) before a three-game series versus the Phillies in Philadelphia next Monday through Wednesday. The Mets home opener at Citi Field will be next Friday when they host the Arizona Diamondbacks to begin a three-game set.