Rangers’ deGrom says hardest part is done after Tommy John surgery

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Rangers deGrom Tommy John surgery
Texas Rangers pitcher Jacob deGrom talks with teammates in the dugout before a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals, Tuesday, June 6, 2023, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

 Texas Rangers star pitcher Jacob deGrom, six days following reconstructive surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, said Sunday morning the hardest part is behind him.

“That’s when you’re dreading going in and getting it done,” deGrom said in his first post-surgery comments to reporters before the Rangers hosted the Toronto Blue Jays. “Now it’s over with.

“It feels good. Everything went well. I look forward to doing all the rehab stuff to get back out there.”

DeGrom, who will turn 35 on Monday, said his goal is to return in August 2024. The typical recovery time after the operation, commonly known as Tommy John surgery, is at least 12 to 14 months. The operation was performed by Dr. Keith Meister, a Rangers team physician and one of the most sought-after orthopedic surgeons in pro sports.

deGrom signed for $185 Million

Texas signed deGrom to a $185 million, five-year deal in free agency last December when the right-hander was coming off two injury-filled seasons with the New York Mets.

Before deGrom (2-0, 2.67 ERA) got hurt, the AL West-leading Rangers won all six games the two-time National League Cy Young Award winner started. He last pitched against the New York Yankees on April 28, when he left early because of injury concerns for the second time in three starts. The four-time All-Star had 45 strikeouts with only four walks in 30 1/3 innings.

Rangers deGrom Tommy John surgery

DeGrom had the same surgery in 2010 while in rookie ball with the Mets.

“I know what it takes to come back,” deGrom said. “It takes a lot of hard work and sticking with the program, not trying to do too much. That’s where it became tricky my first time. I felt good and really wanted to keep going.”

DeGrom said he has started the earliest part of rehab, moving his hand while wearing a large brace that will remain on for three weeks. He said he’s scheduled for rehab sessions at the Arlington sports surgery center five days a week.

While attending home games, he’ll watch from the bullpen instead of the dugout, lessening the chances of the arm being accidentally jostled.