Mets ace deGrom exits after three innings with right shoulder soreness

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New York Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom reacts after a pitch in the third inning against the Chicago Cubs at Citi Field in New York on Wednesday, June 16, 2021. - Elsa/Getty Images North America/TNS

NEW YORK — The good vibes at Citi Field tangibly turned to dread.

Jacob deGrom exited his start with right shoulder soreness, the Mets announced, after three perfect innings against the Cubs on Wednesday night. His early departure came on the heels of his last troubling outing, when he left after six innings against the Padres with right flexor tendinitis.

On Wednesday against Chicago, deGrom struck out eight of the nine batters he faced. He peppered 100-plus-mph fastballs across his abbreviated outing, but his start was laborious. DeGrom used 51 pitches to get by in three frames.

Right after he struck out opposing pitcher Robert Stock to end the third, deGrom walked into the dugout and disappeared straight into the Mets tunnel. Head trainer Brian Chicklo followed him and minutes later, pitching coach Jeremy Hefner made the call to the bullpen.

Sean Reid-Foley took over for deGrom in the fourth inning.

DeGrom heard MVP chants on the mound and at the plate, the loudest of which arrived after his RBI single in the second inning. The Mets ace has driven in more runs (6) than he’s allowed (4). The crowd, filled up to 70% capacity at Citi Field, went from celebrating deGrom’s performance to mourning his absence.