It's not good news, Rangers fans.
Rangers ace Jacob deGrom will undergo Tommy John surgery after a follow-up MRI revealed a tear to the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, the club announced Tuesday. The 34-year-old will be out until at least the middle of the 2024 season.
The latest update on the Rangers ace is a gut punch for a club with the second-best record in baseball at 39-20 and one that has suddenly become a contender after a slew of moves to bring in superstar free agents, combined with the strong performances by some rising young players, catapulted the team into a juggernaut a third of the way through the season.
“This stinks. It is not ideal. When you are told you can’t be out there doing something you love, it’s tough," deGrom said with tears in his eyes, via Grant. "We’ve got a special group of guys here and I want to be able to be out there and help them. It’s a disappointment.”
DeGrom, who was shelved on April 29, when the club placed him on the 15-day IL after an MRI revealed inflammation in his right elbow, only started six games this season after signing a $185 million, five-year contract with the Rangers this offseason. He was transferred to the 60-day injured list Monday to make room on the 40-man roster for right-hander Spencer Howard.
When healthy, deGrom was stellar, pitching to a 2.67 ERA with 45 strikeouts and four walks across 30 1/3 innings. The club was undefeated in the six games he started.
Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said deGrom's bullpen session on May 31 went fine and that the club would discuss the next steps in his recovery when DeGrom returned from a trip home to Florida to be with his wife who gave birth to their third child.
However, general manager Chris Young revealed Tuesday that the latest MRI showed "significant damage."
“The latest pictures show that we’ve gone backwards,” Young said. “There is now structural damage. And it is significant as compared to what we saw originally where there was inflammation.”
DeGrom's issues began when he was removed from his fourth start of the season after just four innings pitched due to wrist soreness. He returned for his next start and struck out 11 batters and allowed one earned run over six innings in a win against Oakland. He was forced to exit his sixth start after just 3 2/3 innings.
DeGrom played his first nine big league seasons with the New York Mets. He was plagued by injuries the past two years, when he was limited to 156 1/3 innings over 26 starts.