The initial hope was that though Max Scherzer’s first start of the second-half was pushed back, he would be able to go this coming Tuesday in Baltimore in the first game of two in the Orioles’ home.
Before last night’s game in Citizens Bank Park, however, the Nationals placed the 34-year-old ace on the 10-Day Injured List, retroactive to July 10th, with what was described in the announcement as a mid-back strain.
The back stiffness he’d been dealing with since his start in Detroit back on June 30th on the road in Comerica Park, bothered him again after an outing against the Kansas City Royals in the nation’s capital last Saturday, so he sat out of the All-Star Game this past Tuesday, but it wasn’t enough to get him past the trouble he was experiencing.
Scherzer assured reporters on Friday that it wasn’t a “major thing” and they were just taking a cautious approach.
“We know exactly what this is, we know it’s muscular,” he explained, as quoted by MLB.com writer Paul Casella.
“The pause for concern is that we tried to get it going for the Kansas City start, and it just wasn’t able to recover from the Kansas City start.”
“He was sore after his last start,” manager Davey Martinez explained on Friday night.
“He had an MRI during the break. It came back negative. But he’s sore, so we talked and we decided to just push him back a couple of days and see how he feels.
“We’re at a point no where he went through an unbelievable run and we’re just trying to take care of him.”
Scherzer wrapped up the first-half of the 2019 campaign with a nine-start stretch in which he went (7-0) with a 0.84 ERA, nine walks (1.27 BB/9), 94 Ks (13.21 K/9), and a .172/.213/.263 line against in 64 innings pitched.
Martinez talked after the second straight win over the Phillies on Saturday, about how they made the decision to put Scherzer on the IL.
“I talked to Max and we decided, he said he felt the same as yesterday, so we decided to just give him those days,” the manager explained.
“We were able to retro it back three days, so he’s available hopefully this weekend.”
Scherzer did test it again, with the same results.
“He said he felt the same as he did yesterday. We’re at the point now where we need him.
“We came to a decision where, hey, the best thing to do is just let it rest, and just build yourself back up and just the turnaround for him is just not there right now.”
As for who’s going to take Scherzer’s spot in the rotation against the O’s?
“We haven’t decided who it’s going to be, so we’ll wait till probably tomorrow to figure that out,” Martinez said.