The New York Mets have gotten off to a dazzling start without the help of injured ace Jacob deGrom. They’ll have to keep it up without the two-time Cy Young Award winner, as deGrom is still a ways off from throwing, let alone pitching in a real game.

Jacob deGrom injury
Jacob deGrom got good news on Monday, as he can now work toward throwing again as his shoulder continues to improve. (Image: Jasen Vinlove/USA Today Sports)

The Mets released a statement announcing that an MRI taken Monday showed “considerable healing” on deGrom’s right shoulder.

Mets starters filling the gap

Based on the improvement, doctors have now cleared deGrom “to begin loading and strengthening of the shoulder.” That means that deGrom can start progressing toward throwing again – though it will still take some time before deGrom can step on the mound for the Mets.

New York hasn’t needed deGrom’s outstanding pitching just yet. Without him, the Mets have compiled a 13-5 record and built a 4.5-game lead in the NL East. The rest of the rotation, including offseason acquisition Max Scherzer, has pitched brilliantly, with Mets starters posting a 2.29 ERA so far this year.

Even those numbers pale in comparison to what deGrom has accomplished in recent seasons. He won the NL Cy Young Award in both 2018 and 2019. In 2021, he posted a 1.08 ERA and a 7-2 record over 92 innings.

But deGrom hasn’t appeared in a game with the Mets since July 7 of last year. In the midst of a potentially historic season, he was sidelined with elbow issues. Health issues have been the one thing slowing him down, as while on the field, deGrom has been the best pitcher in baseball over the past four seasons.

deGrom entered spring training apparently healthy. However, after his second preseason start, he experienced shoulder discomfort, which doctors later diagnosed as a stress reaction on his scapula.

deGrom still appearing in Cy Young odds

With no definitive word on when deGrom will return, it seems unlikely that he’ll be able to compete for the Cy Young Award this year. Yet sportsbooks have been reluctant to remove him from their boards, well aware that bettors will back him, and that he could put together otherworldly numbers when he comes back. FanDuel Sportsbook currently lists deGrom at +4500, among the top 20 candidates in the National League.

In the meantime, the Mets will continue on without deGrom. He hasn’t spent much time with the team, though that’s not a sign of disrespect to his teammates.

“He doesn’t like that constant banter,” manager Buck Showalter told reporters. “When he gets to where he’s throwing, he’ll join us. It’s pretty simple.”

The Mets currently rate at a -150 favorite to win the NL East. FanDuel now lists New York as a +750 pick to win the World Series as well, second only behind the favored Los Angeles Dodgers (+460).