SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP)Newly acquired Texas Rangers ace Jacob deGrom said Thursday he is already further ahead than normal this spring training, even after being held out of the team’s first official workout.

The Rangers kept deGrom off the field a day earlier after the right-hander reported feeling tightness in his left side from throwing before he got to Arizona. His past two seasons with the New York Mets were shortened significantly by injuries.

”Obviously what I’ve been through the last couple of years, I’ve dealt with some things, and this is very minor,” deGrom said. ”Left side was a little tight, I mentioned that to them. … They just said, let’s take a couple of days off and knock this all the way out and then resume.”

The two-time NL Cy Young Award winner, who signed a $185 million, five-year contract in December, said he threw off the mound ”close to six times” before reporting to camp. He said he would usually only do that two or three times going into spring training.

”So I built up a good bulk,” deGrom said. ”Where I was at with my arm, we were comfortable taking a few days.”

Rangers general manager Chris Young, a former big league pitcher, said the decision to delay deGrom’s camp debut was a precautionary move.

The 34-year-old deGrom spent the first nine years of his big league career with the Mets, going 82-57 with a 2.52 ERA and 1,607 strikeouts in 1,326 innings. He was limited to 156 1/3 innings over 26 starts the past two seasons before he opted out of a $30.5 million deal and became a free agent for the first time.

He had a career-low 1.08 ERA over 92 innings in 2021 before missing the final three months that season with right forearm tightness and a sprained elbow. He was shut down late in spring training last year because of a stress reaction in his right scapula and didn’t make his first big-league start until Aug. 2. He then went 5-4 with a 3.08 ERA in 11 starts.

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