ARLINGTON — The Rangers placed ace Jacob deGrom on the 15-day injured list with right elbow inflammation, general manager Chris Young announced on Saturday.
During Friday’s 5-2 win over the Yankees at Globe Life Field, deGrom exited in the fourth inning due to what the club announced postgame as right forearm tightness. He had an MRI the following day, which showed inflammation in the elbow.
“We felt like it was prudent to build in a little extra rest for him and see how it responds over the coming days, and then we’ll get more information to go from there,” Young said before Saturday’s 2-0 win over New York.
“Again, it’s a little bit of inflammation in the elbow, and there’s no need to push him, certainly. He came in today and felt OK, which was a positive, but given how important he is to us and our season, we’re going to play this very cautiously and see how he responds over the next several days to treatment. And then after seven to 10 days, we’ll have a pretty good idea of what the next steps are.”
deGrom was dealing against the Yankees with three perfect innings before he hit a speed bump in the fourth. His final pitch of the evening was an 89 mph slider, which Willie Calhoun drove to left field for New York’s first hit of the game. It was deGrom’s slowest slider of the night.
deGrom threw 28 pitches (20 for strikes) in the first three innings against New York. In the fourth, he threw 22 pitches (12 strikes) as he surrendered one walk and one hit before exiting. His second-to-last pitch was his slowest four-seamer of the night at 96.6 mph.
deGrom left his start on April 17 against the Royals due to right wrist soreness, but he returned for his next scheduled outing against the A’s on April 23. Young said he’s not “in tune medically enough” to know for sure how the two injuries are related, but he doesn’t deny that overcompensation for the nagging wrist could have irritated the elbow.
“He’s being very smart about this,” Young said. “He’s making us aware of how he’s feeling. It’s been great in terms of his routine and diligence in the training room and in the weight room and just in the communication with our staff, which has been wonderful. He wants to be out there as much as anybody. He was very disappointed last night to have to come out of the game, but he felt like he shouldn’t push through and potentially make something worse than maybe it is. I think today’s information confirmed that he made the right decision.”
The ace also entered his first Spring Training as a member of the Rangers with left side tightness that limited him for the first few weeks of camp.
The Rangers were well aware of deGrom’s injury history before signing him to a five-year, $185 million deal in December. The right-hander, a two-time National League Cy Young Award winner and four-time All-Star with the Mets, has not made more than 15 starts in a season since 2019.
In 2020, deGrom missed time with minor back and arm troubles, and right elbow inflammation knocked him out for the entire second half of the ‘21 season. A stress reaction in his right scapula sidelined him in ‘22.
But it was a risk the Rangers were willing to take, because when deGrom has pitched, he has been brilliant. In 30 1/3 innings this season, he has a 2.67 ERA and 45 strikeouts. Texas is undefeated in his six starts.
“When he’s healthy, we want him out there pitching, and that’s really true for everybody,” Young said. “But we don’t want to put anybody in jeopardy or in harm’s way. We need all these guys to stay healthy, whether it’s Jacob or any other of our pitchers here. So we’ll treat the symptoms. We’ll get as much information as possible, be aggressive in our treatments and hopefully get him back out there when his body says he’s ready.”
Reliever Dane Dunning is expected to replace deGrom in the rotation for the time being. The right-hander has been one of Texas’ best bullpen arms this season, posting a 1.77 ERA in 20 1/3 innings as the Rangers’ long reliever. He started 29 games with a 4.46 ERA in 2022.
“He’s a very solid Major League pitcher, and he’s off to a great start,” Young said. “He’s done a great job, and we’re fortunate to have him to be able to slide in during moments like this.”