CHICAGO – Opening day is next week, and there is some unease for New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom and Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo because of back issues. It looks as if New York Yankees star Aaron Judge is feeling much better.
The Mets sent deGrom for an MRI on Wednesday after the right-hander pitched just one inning in a summer camp appearance due to back tightness. The test showed nothing to be concerned about, according to a person familiar with the situation.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because no immediate announcement on deGrom’s medical condition was planned.
An MRI of Rizzo on Tuesday showed rib-head inflammation on his left side that is causing back spasms — a condition he has dealt with before in his career.
“Frustrating, just because how physically in shape I felt like I was coming in,” Rizzo said. “Just can't control the flareups. The MRI getting kind of what we knew, just confirming it. Just kind of getting it to calm down and get back out there as fast as I can.”
Judge has been hampered by a stiff neck, but the outfielder homered off James Paxton during New York's intrasquad game at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees also said Masahiro Tanaka was scheduled for a bullpen session Thursday in his first action since he was struck on the head by Giancarlo Stanton's liner on July 4.
The loss of deGrom or Rizzo for an extended period would be a huge blow for either of their teams — especially in a shortened 60-game season.
The 32-year-old deGrom won his second consecutive NL Cy Young Award in 2019, finishing with a 2.43 ERA and NL-best 255 strikeouts in 204 innings. If deGrom is unable to go on opening day against Atlanta on July 24, Marcus Stroman, Rick Porcello or Steven Matz could get the ball.