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Jacob deGrom leaves intrasquad game early with back tightness

The Mets’ ace would presumably start on Opening Day if healthy.

St Louis Cardinals v New York Mets Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Jacob deGrom left an intrasquad game after just one inning tonight at Citi Field because of back tightness. The back-to-back Cy Young winner would presumably be scheduled to start on Opening Day of the pandemic-shortened, 60-game season on July 24 if he’s healthy.

While it’s too soon to jump to any conclusions, any deGrom absence during this season would be a major setback for the Mets. Clearly the team’s ace, deGrom is set to be followed in the rotation by Marcus Stroman, Steven Matz, Rick Porcello, and Michael Wacha. With Noah Syndergaard already out for the season following Tommy John surgery this spring, the team’s rotation is already a bit thin. Porcello is coming off a 5.52 ERA in 2019, while Wacha had a 4.76 ERA, and the Mets are lacking rotation depth beyond those two.

After getting off to a relatively slow start last year, deGrom wound up finishing the 2019 season with a 2.43 ERA and 2.67 FIP over the course of 204.0 innings. He was particularly great over the final couple of months of the year, and that performance locked up his second Cy Young.