NEW YORK — Exhale, Mets fans.
Jacob deGrom is on track to take his next turn in the rotation Monday at Cincinnati after a scan and examination determined no major injury occurred when the right-hander hyperextended his pitching elbow while at the plate.
DeGrom left Wednesday night's game against Atlanta after four innings, one inning after he felt pain while striking out. He had an MRI, then was checked Thursday by Mets medical director Dr. David Altchek.
"A couple times when I've swung and missed this year, I'll feel a little something in the back of my elbow, but it never has bothered me throwing," deGrom said. "And then when I went back out there, it was kind of more in my bicep, like I felt a little something. So I think erred on the side of precaution. It wasn't getting worse, but it didn't feel good, so I decided to say something."
A 29-year-old who was the Mets' only top starting pitcher not to get hurt last year, deGrom said he felt pain free. He intends to play catch Friday and throw a bullpen session Saturday.
"We're going to really home in on him and make sure everything is 100 percent if he's going to make that start on Monday," Mets manager Mickey Callaway said.
DeGrom is 3-0 has thrown 18 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings, lowering his ERA to 1.87. He left Wednesday's game with the score 0-0, and Atlanta went on to win 7-0.
Mets pitching coach Dave Eiland noticed deGrom winced during the swing, spoke with the pitcher and allowed deGrom to pitch the fourth.
DeGrom had Tommy John surgery in October 2010 that caused him to miss the following season, and had an operation in September 2016 to reposition the ulnar nerve in his right elbow.
"I've been injured before. Kind of the spot it was in, I wasn't as worried," deGrom said. "So I was like, this has got to be more of a muscle thing than a structural thing."
Given his .143 batting average, deGrom said he probably should not have tried to swing after watching the first pitch sail by for a called strike.
"Looking back, I probably should have just taken two and struck out," he said.