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DeGrom Hits the Injured List
The biggest news of the day on Friday was the Mets placing RHP Jacob deGrom on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to April 16, with right elbow soreness. DeGrom is headed back to New York to undergo an MRI after his elbow was "barking" when he played catch, per Mets manager Mickey Callaway. The Mets are currently downplaying the news but this has to be a major concern for Mets fans and deGrom's fantasy owners. He was the best pitcher in baseball last season and won the National League Cy Young Award despite winning only 10 games. He had a 1.70 ERA and 0.91 WHIP in 32 starts. He struck out a career-high 269 batters against just 46 walks in 217 innings. He allowed only 10 home runs.
Fantasy owners used an early draft pick to obtain him for their teams this year -- his average draft position was the 12th pick in Yahoo drafts this spring -- so losing him for any length of time is going to sting. The obvious fear with an elbow injury is that he will require surgery and miss the rest of the season. DeGrom has experienced elbow problems in the past. He underwent Tommy John surgery in 2010 and ulnar nerve transposition surgery in 2016.
DeGrom has been suffering from strep throat this week, which disrupted his throwing program and caused him to be scratched from his scheduled Friday start. Mets manager Mickey Callaway said deGrom developed some soreness in the elbow on Thursday. General manager Matt Van Wagenen said the soreness was mild and that deGrom's elbow felt better on Friday. The team is proceeding very cautiously and will send their ace back to New York for an MRI exam on Monday. Van Wagenen indicated they believe the issue is minor and that deGrom could return from the injured list as soon as he is eligible on April 26th. Obviously, the truth won't be known until after the MRI exam, which makes for a nervous weekend for deGrom's fantasy owners.
What is worrisome is that deGrom wasn't his usual dominant self in his last two starts. He gave up five home runs and nine earned runs in his last nine innings pitched. Perhaps his elbow has been barking a bit longer than he and the Mets are letting on? He was excellent in his first two starts, tossing 13 shutout innings with 24 strikeouts before faltering in his next two starts. On the plus side his velocity has not declined. His 96.6 mph fastball velocity this year is actually slightly higher than last year and it didn't drop off in his two recent poor starts.
Early in the offseason the Mets signed deGrom to a $17 million salary for 2019, which was nearly $10 million higher than his 2018 salary and broke a record for the largest raise ever for an arbitration-eligible player. Later in the offseason they upped the ante and signed deGrom to a five-year, $137.5 million contract extension. It could be remarkably bad timing for the team if deGrom is forced to undergo career-threatening elbow surgery.
** Phillies outfielder Andrew McCutchen is dealing with left knee inflammation. He was lifted from Friday's game against the Rockies due to the issue and likely won't play on Saturday.
** Pirates outfielder Starling Marte and shortstop Erik Gonzalez crashed into each other when chasing a shallow pop fly on Friday. Gonzalez had to leave the game but was able to walk off the field on his own. Marte had to be carted off the field. He may have suffered a knee injury. The Pirates will likely provide an update on his condition on Saturday.
** Pirates starter Jordan Lyles (hand) said after Friday's game that he fully expects to make his next scheduled start against the Diamondbacks on Wednesday. Lyles was clipped in the pitching hand by a line drive during the game against the Giants. He pitched six shutout innings before departing. He's allowed just one run in 17 innings through three starts. He has a 19:5 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
** Phillies infielder Scott Kingery was forced to leave Friday's game against the Rockies with a right hamstring injury. There is no word yet on the severity of the injury. He is slashing a robust .406/.457/.719 with a pair of homers, six RBI and a stolen base on the season.
** Angels' general manager Billy Eppler said Friday that Shohei Ohtani (elbow) will begin facing live pitching next week. He is approximately three weeks away from a return to the Angels. He will play exclusively as a designated hitter this year. He won't pitch until next season.
** Cardinal outfielder Tyler O'Neill (elbow) is expected to be activated from the injured list after 10 days or close to it. O'Neill is dealing with a right elbow ulnar nerve subluxation. He is eligible to come off the injured list as soon as April 26th.
** Cardinal outfielder Harrison Bader (hamstring) is expected back from the injured list when his 10 days are up, which would be April 24th.
** Rays infielder Joey Wendle (hamstring) said he feels ready to be activated from the injured list after playing in a second extended spring training game.
** Yankee third baseman Miguel Andujar (shoulder) is ramping up his throwing program. He is recovering from a labrum tear in his right shoulder. The team may use him at first base or designated hitter upon his return.
** Yankee catcher Gary Sanchez (calf) hit, ran, played catch and caught a bullpen session on Friday. He is only a couple of days away from being activated.
** Red Sox veteran second baseman Dustin Pedroia (knee) expects to be activated from the injured list when his 10 days are up. He was placed back on the injured list after feeling a pop in his surgically-repaired left knee Wednesday. He is unlikely to provide much fantasy value after his return.
** Cubs starter Jon Lester (hamstring) is expected to throw a simulated game soon. He should rejoin the Cubs' rotation within a week or two.
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AL Quick Hits: Tim Beckham homered in the top of the ninth to break a 3-3 tie as the Mariners beat the Angels 5-3... Roenis Elias notched his fourth save with a scoreless ninth against the Angels... After coming into a tie game, Cody Allen gave up a pair of solo homers and walked a batter before being pulled against the Mariners... David Fletcher went 3-for-3 with a walk from the leadoff spot against the Mariners... Marcus Stroman limited the A's to one run over eight innings in a victory... Aaron Brooks surrendered five runs in five innings in a loss to the Blue Jays. Brooks has given up 13 runs and four homers in 16 innings over his last three starts... Brandon Drury hit his first homer of the year Friday against the A's. It also gave him his first RBI in 68 at-bats this season... Drew Smyly lasted just 3 2/3 innings against the Astros on Friday while giving up four runs... Justin Verlander spun seven innings of one-run ball in a 7-2 win over the Rangers... Jose Altuve finished 2-for-5 with a homer and three RBI in a 7-2 victory over the Rangers... Alex Bregman went 2-for-5 with a solo homer against the Rangers... Joey Gallo went 2-for-4 with a towering solo homer in a loss to the Astros... Brandon Lowe clubbed his sixth home run of the season in a loss to the Red Sox. He is slashing .275/.329/.594 with 14 RBI... Eduardo Rodriguez allowed four runs (three earned) on seven hits over 5 1/3 innings in a no-decision against the Rays... Ryan Brasier worked a perfect ninth inning, protecting a two-run lead against the Rays to earn his fourth save of the season... Christian Vazquez crushed a two-run homer against the Rays, his fourth of the season to go with a .224 batting average... Mookie Betts blasted a go-ahead homer in the eighth inning, propelling the Red Sox to a 6-4 victory over the Rays. Last year's AL MVP has been a dud so far this year but he will surely start putting up big numbers soon... CC Sabathia allowed just an unearned run over five innings in a 6-2 win over the Royals... Jakob Junis was tagged for five runs over 5 1/3 innings in a loss to the Yankees... Brett Gardner slugged a two-run homer, drew a walk, and stole a base against the Royals... Billy Hamilton went 0-for-2 with two walks and two stolen bases in a loss to the Yankees... Jordan Zimmermann was hit hard in a loss to the White Sox, surrendering five runs on six hits over his 6 1/3 innings of work... Carlos Rodon racked up six strikeouts over six innings of one-run ball in a win over the Tigers... Jose Abreu went 2-for-5 with a double and two RBI as the White Sox defeated the Tigers... Leury Garcia went 2-for-5 with a run scored and two RBI as the White Sox triumphed over the Tigers... Yoan Moncada slugged a long home run and is now slashing .321/.361/.628 with six homers, 18 RBI and a pair of stolen bases... Red Sox acquired OF Marcus Wilson from the Diamondbacks for C/OF Blake Swihart and international bonus pool money. He batted .235/.309/.369 last year at Single-A and is not an intriguing fantasy prospect.