(CBS New York) — Baseball season continues to trudge along. The long season leaves plenty of time for little ups and downs, as the days stretch into weeks and the weeks stretch into months. But a lot has already happened in a season that’s not even a quarter of the way done. That includes injuries to superstars, a likely end to a Hall of Fame career and a string of no-hitters.
This week’s Baseball Report looks at Jacob DeGrom’s injury, what might be the end of Albert Pujols’s MLB career and the surge of no-hitters.
deGrom Injury Probably Not Serious
Inflammation in his right lat had caused DeGrom to miss his last start. So the New York Mets ace took the mound Sunday against the Arizona Diamondbacks with 10 days of rest. He set down Diamondback batters in order through four innings, while his pitches routinely measured 100 mph on the radar gun. But the fifth inning was a struggle. deGrom gave up a run on three walks and a hit, and no longer looked like himself. He never made it to the sixth inning.
Jacob deGrom has left the game: pic.twitter.com/LPVNJmioMx
— SNY (@SNYtv) May 9, 2021
The Mets pulled deGram during sixth inning warmup. The team later cited “precautionary reasons” based on the “right-side tightness” he was experiencing. The discomfort was said to be centered more toward his lower back than his previous issue. A subsequent MRI, his second in a week, showed no lasting injury.
The problem does not appear to be serious, though the team may very well delay his next start just to be careful with their two-time Cy Young Winner. Including Sunday’s outing, deGrom deGrom has an MLB-low ERA of 0.68, with 65 strikeouts and seven walks in his 40 innings pitched. He’s allowed 17 hits this season.
Pujols Reassigned, Likely Ending MLB Career
Albert Pujols has had an amazing career that dates back 20 years. He spent 2001-2011 with the St. Louis Cardinals, where he put up gaudy stats year in and year out. In that span, Pujols slashed an incredible .328/.420/.617. In that same span, he averaged 40 home runs and 121 RBI per season. The surefire first-ballot Hall of Famer was named MVP three times (2005, 2008, 2009).
Pujols could never quite live up to those stats — or the 10-year, $240 million contract they earned him — in his years with the Angels. From 2012-2020, he slashed .257/.312/.448, averaging 24 HRs and 86 RBI per season.
Last Thursday afternoon the Angels, who are last in the American League West, designated Pujols for assignment in the final year of his contract. This could end his MLB career.
“The Angels organization proudly signed Albert Pujols in 2011, and are honored that he has worn an Angels jersey for nearly half of his Hall of Fame career,” read a statement from team owner Arte Moreno. “Albert’s historical accomplishments, both on and off the field, serve as an inspiration to athletes everywhere, and his actions define what it means to be a true superstar. Since his Rookie of the Year season in 2001, Albert and his wife, Deidre, have generously given their time and resources to countless charities throughout the world. We are thankful to the entire Pujols family.”
In his final season with the Angels, Pujols was hitting a sub-par .198, with five HRs and 12 RBI in his 86 at-bats. The soon-to-be-former Angel has indicated that he hopes to keep playing once he clears waivers and is released. But what team will sign him and at what cost? There are options out there, including St. Louis, where he played the first half of his career. But retirement seems the most likely for the 41-year-old who is well past his prime.
Yet Another No-Hitter
MLB saw two more no-hitters last week. John Means tossed one for the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday against the Seattle Mariners. Two days later, Cincinnati Reds left-hander Wade Miley tossed another against the Cleveland Indians. With four so far this season, MLB pitchers are already approaching the season record not even two weeks into the second month. The record is eight, achieved way back in 1884. And that number doesn’t include a Madison Bumgarner no-hitter for the Diamondbacks in a seven-inning back half of a doubleheader.
Means’s no-hitter was the Orioles’ first solo no-hitter for the team in over five decades. A ball that got past his catcher ruined what would’ve been a perfect game. Miley’s no-hitter marks the second against the Indians this season. His potential perfect game was ruined by an infield error and a walk in the sixth inning. San Diego Padres Joe Musgrove and Chicago White Sox Carlos Rodon own this season’s other two no-hitters.
The low league-wide batting average and high level of strikeouts set the stage for more no-hitters this season. Will the season record fall?