Jacob deGrom will have surgery to repair a tear in his right ulnar collateral ligament, cutting short his first season with the American League West-leading Texas Rangers after signing a five-year, $185 million deal in the offseason.
General manager Chris Young said Tuesday the decision on surgery came after an MRI on deGrom's ailing right elbow.
"We've got a special group here, and to not be able to be out there and help them win, that stinks," deGrom said, with tears in his eyes and pausing several times. "Wanting to be out there and helping the team, it's a disappointment."
The two-time National League Cy Young Award winner hadn't pitched since April 28, when he exited early against the the New York Yankees because of injury concerns for the second time in a span of three starts. The announcement of surgery came a day after deGrom was transferred to the 60-day injured list because of elbow inflammation.
Young said the latest MRI showed more inflammation and significant structural damage in the ligament that wasn't there on the scan after deGrom exited the game against the Yankees. Young didn't specify if deGrom would be undergoing Tommy John surgery or another procedure to repair the UCL but said the surgery will be sometime next week.
"The results of that MRI show that we we have not made progress. And in fact, we've identified some damage to the ligaments," Young said. "It's obviously a tough blow for Jacob, for certainly the Rangers. But we do feel this is what is right for Jacob in his career. We're confident he'll make a full recovery."
Young and deGrom, who turns 35 later this month, said the goal is for the right-hander to be back near the end of next season. Both said they were glad to have clarity with what was wrong with the elbow.
Texas won all six games started by deGrom (2-0), but the right-hander has pitched only 30⅓ innings. He has a 2.67 ERA with 45 strikeouts and four walks. He threw 3⅔ scoreless innings against the Yankees in his last start before leaving that game because of discomfort in his arm.
Before going home to Florida over the weekend for the birth of his third child, deGrom threw his fifth bullpen session last Wednesday in Detroit.
"I'd have days where I'd feel really good, days where I didn't feel great. So I was kind of riding a roller coaster there for a little bit," deGrom said. "They said originally there, we just saw some inflammation. ... Getting an MRI right after you pitch, I feel like anybody would have inflammation. So, you know, I was hoping that that would get out of there and I would be fine. But it just didn't work out that way."
The Rangers signed deGrom in free agency after he had played his first nine big league seasons with the Mets. He was limited by injuries to 156⅓ innings over 26 starts his last two years in New York.
DeGrom had a career-low 1.08 ERA over 92 innings during the 2021 season before missing the final three months because of right forearm tightness and a sprained elbow.
The four-time All-Star didn't make his first big league start last year until Aug. 2 after being shut down late in spring training because of a stress reaction in his right scapula.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.