McDonald: Hopefully Jacob deGrom’s Back Doesn’t Become Unthinkable

The unthinkable happened Tuesday night when Jacob deGrom had to leave the Mets sim game because of back soreness.

Thankfully, no real damage was seen in the MRI that was taken and manager Luis Rojas has the Mets ace listed as day-to-day.

But we have heard that story before and many times those day-to-day listings become trips to the IL and a couple of starts becomes months on the shelf.

That’s the worry here. With a 60 game season, the Mets can’t afford to have deGrom miss any significant time. Although he is only going to play in 12 games during the season, the Mets losing their ace for any period of time would be devastating.

In fact, if you think about it, there isn’t a player on the Mets more important than deGrom.

Because if general manager Brodie Van Wagenen’s dealings and the crop of young players that came up the last few years, the Mets lineup can absorb a loss. Even Pete Alonso could be replaced and capably filled in for, if he was lost for any period of time.

The same holds true for Michael Conforto, Jeff McNeil and Robinson Cano. Heck, we haven’t even seen Yoenis Cespedes for a few years and his presence now is considered bonus.

But the rotation is working without a net. It already took it’s hit when Noah Syndergaard went down with Tommy John surgery and now the Mets will have to hope some Triple-A pitchers come up and develop.

So any loss in the rotation would hurt, but losing deGrom is something the Mets may not recover from. With the 60-game season upon us next week, slow starts and key injuries will end the season before it begins.

Right now, deGrom is better than pretty much every pitcher the Mets will face in the AL and NL Easts, He can compete with the best of them. Lose him and then you need to hope No. 3 type pitchers like Steven Matz and Marcus Stroman step up and have career seasons or the reclamation projects like Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha regain their glory days form.

That’s too much hope and not enough sure things.

Hopefully the two-time Cy Young winner just rests up and is ready to go next week against the Braves at Citi Field. Hopefully, there is no lingering effects from this injury that forces deGrom to change his mechanics that made him so deadly the past two years.

Right now it’s day-to-day for the Mets ace. You pray that means he gets to rest up the next week and then has a tune up before opening the season.

Hopefully this is just a hiccup because anything else would be unthinkable for the Mets.

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