Jacob deGrom has been out since July while nursing an injury to his throwing elbow. It turns out that he was dealing with a sprain in the UCL.
UCL injuries are never a good thing, as they can lead to Tommy John surgery. However, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson doesn’t want fans to worry about deGrom’s injury. He spoke to reporters about it and explained that the issue had “resolved itself.”
“So a sprain is the lowest-grade partial tear, if you will. So at this point, the sprain has resolved itself,” Alderson said. “The elbow is, at this point, perfectly intact, based on the MRIs and our clinical evaluation through our doctors. That’s just a technical term the doctors have used. We don’t use it routinely, but it’s another term for a very mild ligament condition.”
So, Tommy John surgery doesn’t appear to be on the table right now. That said, this is a departure from what the Mets had previously said about deGrom’s injury.
The Mets had claimed that there was no structural damage in deGrom’s injured arm after his rehab setback in late July. The organization said he was sidelined because of forearm tightness.
But a sprain — even a small one — is structural damage. It may be healed, but it’s certainly something worth monitoring, even if Alderson is downplaying it.
“Somebody goes out with a headline that it’s a partial tear, that’s what a bruise is,” Alderson said. “A bruise is a partial tear of the muscle, OK? So let’s not go out there and write as if this is anything new. It’s not. It’s a very low-grade thing that has resolved itself.”
Of course, it’s worth noting that a bruise is not a sprain or a partial tear of the muscle. A bruise occurs when blood vessels under the skin rupture. Nonetheless, it appears that Alderson’s main point is that deGrom should be fine and shouldn’t need the dreaded Tommy John surgery.
deGrom was on pace for another Cy Young-caliber campaign before his injury sidelined him. He made 15 starts during the first half of the season and logged a minuscule 1.08 ERA with 146 strikeouts in 92 innings. It remains to be seen whether he’ll return in 2021 or focus on coming back during the 2022 season.
The Mets are four games back in the NL East race, so they may prefer to give deGrom extra time to heal unless they can rapidly make up ground in the division.