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AL West Check-In: Rangers’ Scherzer close to debut, deGrom progressing

Jun 17, 2024, 3:45 PM

Texas Rangers Max Scherzer Jacob deGrom...

Max Scherzer of the Texas Rangers looks on during a game against the Tampa Bay Rays. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

(Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Two-time Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom threw off a mound Monday for the first time since reconstructive right elbow surgery just over a year ago, while the next start for Max Scherzer could be his season debut for the Texas Rangers.

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DeGrom threw 15 pitches, none of them breaking balls.

“That went really well,” deGrom said. “So one day at a time. I’ve two more this week, and then just keep moving forward from there.”

DeGrom threw in the bullpen before the Rangers opened a homestand against the New York Mets, the former team for both he and Scherzer, and two days before his 36th birthday. Texas signed deGrom to a $185 million, five-year deal as a free agent before the 2023 season.

The Mets are in effect paying most of Scherzer’s salary after trading the three-time Cy Young Award winner to Texas at the deadline last summer.

Scherzer, who hasn’t pitched for the Rangers since last year’s World Series, threw 4 2/3 innings in a rehab start for Triple-A Round Rock on Saturday night. Texas manager Bruce Bochy said before Monday’s game that he expected Scherzer’s next start to be in the big leagues, but he didn’t say when.

Scherzer has made three rehab starts since back surgery in December. He made his first rehab start April 24, but the next was pushed back to June 9 because of right thumb soreness that team doctors later identified as a nerve issue extending to his right triceps.

Texas made the Scherzer deal last summer after the pitcher agreed to opt in on the final year of his contract for this season at $43.3 million. New York is paying $30.83 million of that to Texas in twice-monthly installments.

DeGrom spent his first nine major league seasons with the Mets but threw only 156 1/3 innings over 26 starts his last two years in New York. He missed the final three months of 2021 with right forearm tightness and a sprained elbow, then didn’t make his first big league start in 2022 until Aug. 2 after being shut down late in spring training because of a stress reaction in his right scapula.

Before deGrom (2-0, 2.67 ERA) got hurt, the Rangers won all six games he started. He last pitched in a game on April 28, 2023, against the New York Yankees when he exited early because of injury concerns for the second time in three starts. The four-time All-Star had surgery on June 12 last year.

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