deGrom (tight side) delayed as a precaution

February 15th, 2023

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers ace Jacob deGrom ran into his first speed bump on Wednesday, the first day of spring camp.

General manager Chris Young said Wednesday that deGrom felt "a little tightness" in his left side during his bullpen session a couple days earlier. With Arizona temps in the high 30s and low 40s -- and field conditions poor following rain and light hail -- Texas is holding deGrom back a day or two. Young said the decision is just precautionary and the club might have felt differently if the weather was better, but there are no real concerns on Day 1.

"I think it's as much about it being Day 1 of Spring Training," Young said. "I don't think it's specific to him. We do the same with any pitcher or any player that comes in. If this were a little hamstring tightness today on anybody else, we would treat it the same way. It's cold, it's wet. He's been throwing -- it's been great. His arm feels great. But we're playing for [Opening Day] and the big picture here. It probably says more about me than it does Jake."

Young noted that deGrom wanted to be out there throwing, but the GM made the decision to hold him back out of an abundance of caution. If it were the regular season, deGrom could easily pitch through his discomfort, Young said.

The Rangers were well aware of deGrom's injury history before agreeing to a five-year, $185 million deal in December. The right-hander, a two-time NL Cy Young Award winner and four-time All-Star with the Mets, has not made more than 15 starts in a season since 2019.

deGrom began dealing with minor back and arm troubles during the COVID-shortened 2020 season, then a bout of elbow inflammation knocked him out for the entire second half of the ‘21 season. The following spring, deGrom suffered a stress reaction in his right scapula, which sidelined him until the early days of August. He ultimately pitched to a 3.08 ERA over 11 regular-season starts in ‘22.

Despite the setback, the Rangers are not worried about the long- or short-term health of deGrom entering the season.

"Nothing major, but having him come in today with the weather conditions, I made the decision that we're going to hold him off from throwing for a day or two until we can treat him and things return to normal," Young said. "We wanted to make sure that we play things slowly."