Rangers’ deGrom Returns to Mound


Jacob deGrom threw his first bullpen session of the spring on Thursday | Image by Ben Ludeman, Texas Rangers, Getty Images

Texas Rangers star pitcher Jacob deGrom threw his first bullpen session of the spring on Thursday after missing the first eight days with what he described as “minor tightness” in his left side.

The session involved deGrom throwing 22 pitches, all fastballs, as he reacclimated himself to pitching on the mound.

“We’re just gonna hit the hill, man,” Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux told reporters before the workout. “He hasn’t been on the hill yet, so we’re just going to proceed with caution like we do with all our guys.”

“But we’re just looking for Jake to get on the bump and get down the hill,” he continued. “[Even if] he throws 50%, 60%, just the fundamentals of getting on the mound.”

Maddux and deGrom are not worried about the missed time and are confident the ground can be made up quickly.

“Two bullpens and one bp [batting practice],” Maddux responded when asked about how much work deGrom had missed. “Most guys have about four times on the mound… We’ll be able to catch up, no problem.”

“It was a small step in the right direction,” deGrom told reporters after throwing. “So, the plan moving forward is just to keep progressing, build up pitch count, and get in some games.”

“The last thing you want to do is come in and say, ‘The left side’s a little sore,'” he continued. “But we were cautious with it and, looking at it now, that was the right step.”

“Still got time to build up and get ready,” he added. “So, definitely the last thing I wanted to do, but we’re moving in the right direction now.”

deGrom was the Rangers’ prized free agent acquisition after signing a five-year, $185 million contract following nine seasons with the New York Mets.

In New York, he won two National League Cy Young awards and made seven all-star teams. He also led the majors twice in strikeouts and earned run average (ERA) in 2018.

He missed most of the 2022 season with a shoulder injury.

deGrom was one of several off-season additions brought in to upgrade the Rangers’ pitching staff along with Andrew Heaney, Nathan Eovaldi, and Jake Odorizzi.

“I was out there watching Nate [Eovaldi] and them throw,” deGrom told reporters on Thursday. “Those guys are impressive. [They’re] fun to be around, and [I’m] looking forward to getting out there and competing with them.”

“That’s what this is all about,” he continued. “We’re here to compete and take the field and go out there and battle with your team.”

Maddux has been impressed with his pitching staff in the first couple of weeks.

“It’s been great to see the energy these guys are bringing, the attention to detail in PFPs [pitcher fielding practices],” he told reporters Thursday.

“We’re challenging them with a lot of stuff, but they’ve all responded. Actually, they’re trying to get better at it. That’s what I love is that they’re taking it seriously.”

The Rangers played their first Cactus League spring training game on Friday afternoon, losing to the Kansas City Royals 6-5.

Most starting position players played, but none of the new pitchers saw the field.

The Rangers will return to the diamond at 2:05 p.m. CT Saturday for a rematch against the Royals.

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