deGrom discusses UCL repair, timeline for return

June 18th, 2023

ARLINGTON -- watched the last three games of the Rangers’ homestand in an unusual place. The Texas ace, just a week removed from surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right arm, looked on from the bullpen at Globe Life Field.

deGrom's procedure was performed at TMI Sports Medicine on June 12 in Arlington, though the team didn’t announce if the procedure was Tommy John surgery or an internal brace.

Either way, deGrom will miss the remainder of the season, but he’s happy being around the team as the Rangers enjoy one of their best starts. Their 43-27 record entering Sunday is tied for the second-best 70-game start in franchise history.

“They don't really want me in the dugout right now, just in case somebody runs into you or something,” deGrom said Sunday, addressing the media for the first time since his surgery. “I was hanging out with the bullpen guys, you know. It's just nice being around. … Being able to come in here and be around the guys definitely makes it easier. You're not just sitting by yourself, it still feels like you're somewhat part of the team.”

On Sunday, deGrom sat in the Rangers' clubhouse, armed with a brace on his surgically repaired elbow, and addressed what his recovery will look like from here. When the team is on the road, deGrom will remain in Arlington to do his rehab at TMI five days a week. When the Rangers return home, he’ll do his rehab in the morning at the TMI facility before joining the club for games. 

For all the struggles he’s had with injuries early this season, deGrom is mostly just happy to have a plan laid out in front of him.

deGrom said he’s going into his rehab with the goal of being ready to return in August 2024, which would be just around 14 months post-surgery. General manager Chris Young made sure to point out that timelines are fluid when it comes to injuries. 

“The hardest part is behind me,” deGrom said. “That's what I was dreading, going in and getting it done. Now it's over with, and I look forward to doing all the rehab stuff to get back out there. … Nobody wants to go under and get surgery. That's the last thing you want to do. We want to be out there playing. That's when the reality sets in. Now that that's over with, like I said, it's all trying to get back out there. So we set out a plan of what to do each day, and that makes it a lot easier.”

Not only is deGrom happy to be around the team, but he also noted he’s available to help the pitching staff however they may need while he’s out.

“Again," he said, "it definitely makes it way easier to be around [the team] and not just isolated by yourself.”

“First of all, it's good to see him smiling a little bit more,” manager Bruce Bochy added. “This was a tough deal that he went through, trying to get to a point where he could get back on the mound, that obviously didn't work out. I think surgery was a bit of a relief for him. Although he was disappointed, obviously anytime you have somebody with experience around these pitchers, that's valuable.

"He's a great teammate. For us to have him around, I think he'll help keep the guys loose. He’s been through a lot playing in New York, so these ups and downs, he can help these young pitchers and veterans, too.”