Max Scherzer was excited about reuniting with his former Detroit Tigers’ skipper Jim Leyland and pitching for the U.S. in the World Baseball Classic, but he had to bow out of the tournament because of a stress fracture in the knuckle in his right ring finger.
Scherzer explained the situation in a post on Twitter after the announcement of the injury issue earlier this winter:
“In late August, I experienced discomfort in my right ring finger and received a finger sprain diagnosis. Since I was pain free during my starts and my performance and velocity were unaffected, I continued to pitch. The medical staff and I both agreed this likely wouldn’t resolve itself until the offseason when I could rest.
“By December, my symptoms had not dissipated and that’s when a [second] MRI revealed a stress fracture in the knuckle of my right ring finger. I am undergoing treatment and am on pace to return before Spring Training...”
Scherzer detailed the work he’s done to get ready for the 2017 campaign today in West Palm Beach, FL when he met with reporters for the first time this Spring.
“Looking at the MRIs and everything, the fracture in my knuckle is essentially healed even though I still am experiencing some symptoms in the site, as everything finally comes up and gets healed,” Scherzer explained.
Then he decided he needed to explain his explanation.
“Let’s give that a translation,” the reigning NL Cy Young winner joked.
“Over the course of this I’ve been able to throw tennis balls, throw lacrosse balls and at least keep my arm in some kind of functional standpoint.
“For me, it’s throwing a baseball that’s been the biggest challenge.”
“Right now, this is the week I’ve finally been able to pick a baseball up and be able to throw for me, a modified grip, but not my true grip,” Scherzer continued.
“And so as this fracture continues to heal, as the symptoms continue to alleviate, as we get treatment on everything, I’ll be able to work back into all my grips and obviously be able to get back on the mound.
“But right now it’s just getting back out there and just throwing a baseball and getting my arm in shape.”
Nationals’ skipper Dusty Baker was asked how he planned to handle the Nationals’ right-hander.
“You handle the progression as his body sees fit,” Baker said.
“There’s nothing that any of us can do really until he feels 100% and you certainly don’t want to rush him, because we’re thinking about the long haul.
“So that’s not very pleasant news, but at least they’re on top of it. Max is a worker, a big-time worker, and if Max is not — he said he was doing better than he was, it’s almost healed, but you know anybody that’s been injured, the last quarter mile is the longest [stretch] of the whole race. So we’ll have to see. It’s going to take a little while for Max to get ready and [get] his strength in his forearms, and how long it takes, we don’t know. However long it takes, then that’s how it is, we’ve just got to find a way to replace Max if we have to for a temporary period of time.”
Baker said he didn’t know now if Scherzer missing Opening Day was a possibility, but he stressed that you have to prepare for any eventuality.
“You’ve got to be prepared for that, and if it doesn’t happen, then I’m the happiest guy in the world,” Baker told reporters.
“And if it does happen, then we’ve got to start looking at some options. We do have some guys that are chomping at the bit.
“You hate to lose Max for any period of time, but like I said, that’s just speculation as of right now, we don’t know, but you certainly have to prepare for that.”
“I’ve dealt with aches and pains and strains and sprains, but this is a whole different ballgame,” Scherzer said, when asked if it was a frustrating process. “When you start dealing with a fracture, rest is really your only option.”
“It’s difficult to always make a fracture heal,” he said, “especially in your finger and hand. I was giving it as much rest as possible, but even when you don’t experience symptoms it’s tough to always get that healing to happen.
“I’m just glad that we look on the MRI and we see that the little line that was there in my knuckle, it’s gone.
“From now it’s just progressing and doing what I can to make sure that this stuff never happens again.”