Scherzer, deGrom provide injury updates

January 28th, 2024

ARLINGTON -- sat in the Speakeasy Club at Globe Life Field on Saturday, reading “Little Blue Truck,” “Pete the Cat” and other children’s books before fielding questions from a large group of 5- to 10-year-olds. 

Making his first appearance at Rangers Fan Fest since he joined the club at the 2023 Trade Deadline, Scherzer was animated all day, from answering questions about his favorite pitch -- “Whatever strikes them out” -- to winning another World Series -- “The best feeling ever!”

By the time he addressed the media for the first time since he underwent surgery on Dec. 15 for a herniated disk in his back, Scherzer was still in high spirits as he explained the timeline of his injury.

“We won the World Series, so everything's great,” Scherzer said. “You have to keep the ‘glass half full’ mentality to this. And I do. I take this on as a badge of honor because this is my first big one -- 39 years old before my first surgery.”

Scherzer, who made eight starts with a 3.20 ERA for Texas in the regular season, left Game 3 of the World Series with back spasms and was removed from the World Series roster ahead of the series-clinching Game 5.

Scherzer said he got an MRI immediately after the World Series. That scan said he had “low inflammation.”

“After the parade, those days afterwards," he said. "We just thought this was just inflammation of the back, and we would just address that. We did that for a week, and I was starting to feel better, actually. Two days later, all of a sudden, I had nerve pain in my leg. And I was like, ‘All right, something's not right.’”

Scherzer then got an epidural shot, hoping for a conservative fix to the issue.

“Around the 48-hour mark [after the shot], the night of Thanksgiving, my calf just shut down,” Scherzer said. “ I went in, and I couldn’t do a calf raise. And now we have some major red flags being raised. I got another MRI that said I had a herniated disk. They couldn't believe it because they looked back at that first MRI, and it was a completely different MRI read.”

Now that he’s past the initial six-week high-risk period for a herniated disk, Scherzer said he feels great going into Spring Training. His estimated return date remains around June or July.

“The hardest part has been the mental aspect of this,” Scherzer said. “Grinding through your day-to-day life and not having to do the wrong thing, like just getting out of bed. It’s every little thing. So I've gotten through it. I'm so much happier. I feel like I can breathe a little bit. I feel good about where I'm at right now and what I need to do to move forward.”

The Rangers also will add another former Cy Young Award winner after the 2024 Trade Deadline, as continues rehabbing from his UCL surgery. He posted a 2.67 ERA with 45 strikeouts against four walks last season before landing on the injured list in late April. 

The right-hander said he feels great and should begin throwing during Spring Training.

“Obviously, I wanted to be out there,” deGrom said. “But like I said when I signed here, we had a great group of guys. That made it a little bit easier rooting on these guys and being able to still be there. We obviously were fortunate enough to win the World Series; that's always the goal. This is a new year, and that's the goal -- to do it again. So, hopefully, I can be back out there and help the team a little bit more this year.”

Though the co-aces will both miss the first half of the 2024 season, they will remain with the club to rehab and offer any words of wisdom to teammates, much like deGrom did in the second half of last season.

Scherzer said that he wasn’t really expecting deGrom to be around much after he joined the club at the Deadline, expecting deGrom perhaps to rehab on his own or fade into the background. It was the exact opposite. 

“For having the worst thing you can possibly have with the second Tommy John, he had a tremendous impact on our clubhouse,” Scherzer said. “He was showing that he cared and genuinely wanted to see everybody win. When that happens, when you have a guy of his stature and he's doing that, that affects everybody else. If he's being an absolute no bad apple, that's going to affect everybody else, too. 

“He definitely helped set the tone, and he's an important cog within the clubhouse. Obviously, unfortunately now I'm going to have to deal with an injury coming back, but I know how important that is and being around the team and impacting guys in the best way possible.”