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Mets' Justin Verlander reacts to latest Jacob deGrom setback

By Zac Wassink,

New York Mets starting pitcher Justin Verlander

New York Mets co-ace Justin Verlander acknowledged he doesn't quite know what Jacob deGrom of the Texas Rangers is going through this spring.

“I think it’s different when it’s your second [Tommy John] surgery," Verlander said not long after the Rangers confirmed deGrom needed the season-ending procedure, per Mike Puma of the New York Post. "But we have even a bunch of people come back from that. I wouldn’t put anything past him. He’s gotten better and better stuff-wise as he’s gotten older. Maybe this surgery gives him a chance to revamp his whole body and he comes back better than ever. You never know."

Long before deGrom became one of the league's most dominant pitchers while in his prime, he underwent Tommy John surgery in 2010. Verlander, meanwhile, made just one start during the 2020 season before he had the operation. He ultimately returned to form and won the third Cy Young Award of his Hall of Fame career last year.

Of course, deGrom's injury history isn't promising regarding his long-term recovery. The two-time National League Cy Young Award winner has made just 44 regular-season starts since 2020, missed the second half of the 2021 season due to lingering elbow problems and was then sidelined in 2022 with a stress reaction in the scapula of his pitching shoulder.

"Any time you see somebody as talented as that who can’t stay on the field it’s tough because it’s always a lot of 'what if' questions," Verlander continued about deGrom. "Those questions suck because you want them answered, you want to see him on the field. … You would like to see what he does with longevity. I’m not counting him out by any means, but it’s disheartening because I know how much he cares and how much these guys like him and it speaks volumes for his character and you wish those people the best."

After deGrom and the Rangers agreed to a five-year, $185M contract that includes a conditional sixth-year option, SNY's Andy Martino reported the veteran, who turns 35 years old later this month, "never gave the Mets the chance to make a last, best offer." Perhaps deGrom did his former employer a favor, after all.

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