deGrom exits start with forearm tightness

April 29th, 2023

ARLINGTON -- For the second time in three starts, Rangers ace left in the middle of an outing due to injury concerns.

During Friday's 5-2 win over the Yankees, deGrom exited in the fourth inning due to what the club announced postgame as right forearm tightness.

“It’s just a precaution,” said Rangers manager Bruce Bochy, “so we took him out. You know, a couple of starts ago, he felt a little bit [off], so that's what we decided to do -- just be a little cautious here. We will evaluate him tomorrow and see how he feels, so I'll have a better answer tomorrow.”

deGrom was dealing 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 the Yankees’ first hit of the game. It was deGrom's slowest slider of the night

Trainer Jacob Newburn, pitching coach Mike Maddux and manager Bruce Bochy all convened on the mound after deGrom gave up that two-out hit. He walked off the field a few minutes later, replaced by Dane Dunning.

“He was throwing great, wasn’t he?” Bochy said. “It was the Jacob we know. But it just started to tighten up a little bit there, so we’re being cautious. We'll see what's going on tomorrow and see how he feels, and of course, we'll get him evaluated.”

deGrom threw 28 pitches (20 for strikes) in the first three innings. In the fourth, he threw 22 pitches (12 strikes) as he surrendered a walk and a hit before exiting the game. Despite the injury, he looked like himself throughout the outing, with his fastball sitting in the upper 90s and touching 100-plus mph multiple times.

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.

The ace 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 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.

In 2020, deGrom missed time with minor back and arm troubles, and 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 posted a 2.67 ERA and 45 strikeouts. Texas is undefeated in his six starts.

deGrom hasn’t missed a start yet, despite departing early twice. The Rangers have been cautious with their ace during his short time in Texas, but the next few days will be a waiting game as the staff continues to evaluate his health.