Welcome back to the Mets Beat newsletter! Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007, including the past 13 seasons full-time on the beat.
Monday should be a significant news day for the Mets, as Jacob deGrom is scheduled to undergo a follow-up MRI to see if the stress reaction in his pitching shoulder has healed well enough for him to start a throwing program. If the test comes back clean, deGrom will begin what should be roughly a month-long progression to rejoin the club.
But don’t expect him to look exactly the same as he did in March. After deGrom’s initial MRI revealed his scapular injury, coaches and team officials dug into what might have caused it. The short answer is that they don’t entirely know. The longer answer is that they might have a clue. Looking at video and motion-capture technology, the Mets determined that deGrom was jerking his arm back more violently as he brought the ball out of his glove this spring, resulting in undue stress on his shoulder while he separated his hands during his delivery. It was a subtle drift from the year before, but one centered around the joint that’s giving deGrom such trouble.
When deGrom begins throwing again, the Mets will aim to minimize the aggressive nature of his motion.
“We don’t know what actually caused the scap injury,” pitching coach Jeremy Hefner said. “What we did notice is that [the hand separation] was different.”
It’s possible, Hefner continued, that deGrom simply suffered a freak injury unrelated to his minor mechanical drift. It doesn’t take much of a step back to realize how unnatural the action of throwing a ball at high velocity can be. Pitchers break. As Mets manager Buck Showalter is fond of noting, “It’s not a normal thing to put your arm over your head and jerk it down violently 100 times every fifth day.”
“The body isn’t designed to do that,” Hefner agreed. “That’s where we just try to look at what has worked in the past. Can we get back to that? And hopefully, that keeps them healthy. A lot of this is hoping. If there was a cure for Tommy John, if there was a cure for shoulder injuries, we would obviously be doing everything in our power to do that. But no one really knows. We do know some things that tend to lead to healthy arms, but we don’t know definitively.”
What the Mets do understand is that if deGrom ramps up only to suffer another setback, it could cost him significant additional time. That would affect not only the team’s 2022 aspirations, but New York’s future prospects as well.
So if there’s even a small chance this change makes a difference, the Mets intend to pursue it.
“We just want to make sure we leave no stone unturned,” Hefner said. “We essentially have one chance -- the second half of the season or the final two-thirds of the season -- to make sure that he’s himself.”
Which of the following Mets pitchers did not win a game in the 2006 NLCS?
A. Tom Glavine
B. Orlando Hernández
C. John Maine
D. Óliver Pérez
A CONVERSATION ABOUT … NO-HITTERS
Max Scherzer’s modest no-hit bid last week -- he took one into the sixth inning against the Giants before giving up a clean single -- got me thinking: At what point do Major League pitchers begin thinking about no-hitters when they’re possibly in the midst of one?
“My rule of thumb is, when you get one time through the order, you’ve got something going,” said Scherzer, who threw both of his career no-nos in 2015. “If you get two times through the order, you’ve got a shot. So, for me, getting two times through the order, that’s when you start getting there. And then in the seventh, eighth, that’s when it really comes into play. But not until the seventh or eighth do you really think you’ve got something.”
Carlos Carrasco, who came within one out of a no-hitter for Cleveland in 2015, said he became aware of what he was doing in the fourth inning of that game.
“Because the guys didn’t stop talking about it in the dugout,” Carrasco recalled, laughing. “And I was listening. But at the same time, I was talking to my teammates. I was talking to them about how to celebrate, all that stuff. I just went out there and continued to pitch, and when I got to the last part of the game, two outs, two strikes, one strike away -- man, everything started getting completely different.”
Many pitchers are the opposite of Carrasco, unwilling to speak to anyone during a dominant performance. Scherzer’s mood is certainly more manic on his start days. But that’s the thing -- everyone is different. When asked about the seven perfect innings that his former teammate Clayton Kershaw recently threw, only to have Dodgers manager Dave Roberts take him out of the game, Scherzer said he couldn’t predict how he would react under similar circumstances.
“Health is more important than personal achievements,” said Scherzer. “Having played with Kersh and knowing him, having your first start go beyond what your limits are is not worth it. Your job is to help the ballclub -- not on the first day of the season, but more on the last day of the season. So you have that in mind.”
THIS WEEK IN METS HISTORY
April 26, 2012: In the type of thing that rarely happens in modern times, the Mets fielded an entirely homegrown starting lineup, featuring (from 1 through 9):
Kirk Nieuwenhuis, CF
Ruben Tejada, SS
Daniel Murphy, 2B
David Wright, 3B
Lucas Duda, RF
Ike Davis, 1B
Josh Thole, C
Jordany Valdespin, LF
Jon Niese, P
Nieuwenhuis hit a walk-off single to send the Mets to a 3-2 win over the Marlins, after a non-homegrown player, Justin Turner, drew a 13-pitch walk to force in the tying run. The losing pitcher? None other than Heath Bell, another Met who had since moved to Miami.
B. Orlando Hernández
Hernández earned nine wins during the regular season, but he didn’t pitch at all in the postseason due to a torn calf muscle suffered in early October. Although Hernández was an option to return for the World Series, the Mets never made it that far.
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