Though he won’t likely be making a third straight Opening Day start, if things progress as planned, without any setbacks or hiccups, Max Scherzer could be ready for the start of the Washington Nationals’ 2017 campaign.
This afternoon, in Jupiter, Florida’s Roger Dean Stadium, the 32-year-old righty is set to make his Grapefruit League debut after working his way back from a stress fracture in his right ring finger.
If he stays on schedule, he told reporters last week, he thinks he can make three more starts in Spring Training and build up his arm strength before the start of the season.
“That’s 70, 85, 100 [pitches],” Scherzer explained, as quoted by Washington Post writer Chelsea Janes last week.
“I should be progressing at a pretty good clip now to allow myself to find a way to be able to start the regular season.”
Scherzer threw 54 pitches in a minor league game last week, and was able to throw his fastball with a two-finger grip after working with a modified three-finger fastball grip as he waited for the ring finger to heal.
“Everything felt good,” Scherzer told reporters after that outing. “Finger felt good.
“Even was back to the two-finger grip, so that’s the really good news out of today and everything felt good on the off-speed pitches.”
“It’s good to be back to the normal grip,” Scherzer said.
“From here on out I’ll obviously be progressing that way and now dialing it in, trying to hit locations and really try to pitch with a fastball again. Now I feel back.”
He’ll be back at it against major league hitters for the first time this Spring today when he takes on the St. Louis Cardinals.
Here’s the lineup that will take the field behind Scherzer this afternoon:
#Nats at #Cardinals at 1:05 PM EDT: Turner SS, Eaton CF, Werth LF, Lind 1B, Rendon 3B, Lobaton C, Heisey RF, Snyder 2B, Scherzer P— federalbaseball (@federalbaseball) March 22, 2017
GAME TIME: 1:05 PM EDT; FOLLOW: Today’s game is available via MLB.com’s GameDay audio, though it’s the Cards’ feed.