As Max Scherzer explained over the weekend, after throwing a bullpen session in New York as he works his way back from a mild rhomboid strain that landed him on the Injured List, it isn’t about how he feels on the mound when he throws, it’s about how he recovers the next day.
“That’s the problem with this,” the 35-year-old, three-time Cy Young award winner said as he spoke with reporters in Citi Field. “I can go out there and pitch, it’s how I recover, that’s the problem. And so for me, it’s going through here, do the program, what I do in the training room and the weight room. Make sure that I can get on the mound and do all my exercises I need to be able to do, and recover. That’s the most important thing with this.”
“The hurdle has been the recovery,” Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez said once Scherzer was done going through his usual pregame routine, then throwing 32 pitches in two “innings”.
“After he throws, before the recovery wasn’t great, he felt something, the last couple times he threw he didn’t feel anything, so that’s why we bumped him up to the sim game today.
“Hopefully tomorrow he comes back and says, ‘Hey, I feel like I normally do when I pitch.’ If he says that then we can move forward.”
In the immediate aftermath of the latest step in his recovery, Scherzer felt good.
“After talking to him he said he felt really good,” Martinez told reporters, before reiterating that, “... the whole deal with this injury is his recovery, so we’ll see how he feels tomorrow.”
“And then after tomorrow, if he feels good, the plan is for him to throw a lighter side and then go from there.”
Scherzer wasn’t ready to commit to a potential date for his return to the rotation when he spoke over the weekend, telling reporters, “it’s not soon enough whatever it is,” and as his manager said on Tuesday afternoon, the right-hander is going to have to build back up as he gets back into game action.
“If we decided to pitch him in a game it wouldn’t be 100 pitches right away,” Martinez said.
“I can tell you that right now. We’ve really got to be very careful where we’re at with him right now.”