Washington Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo talked to 106.7 the FAN in D.C.’s The Sports Junkies this morning about the progress Nats’ ace Max Scherzer has made in his rehab from the mild rhomboid strain which landed him on the Injured List back on July 29th.
Scherzer threw a sim game on Tuesday afternoon, and came out of it feeling good, though, as he’d said previously, it was more about how he responded after throwing.
“He’ll say he feels great,” Rizzo told the Junkies, “... and that he’s ready to pitch, and that he wants to pitch, and that he’s got to pitch, and we’ll have to assess what that means, but our medical staff will be on him. We’re on top of him every day. The sim game went well, his velocity was good, his stuff was good, he’s absolutely pain-free when he pitches, and threw about 60 pitches, two innings. We wanted him to go up, down. He sat down three times and got up, so that’s important.
“We’ll take it to the next step when we find out how he feels today. He’ll throw a little soft side tomorrow probably and then we’ll reassess where he’s at for game operations and kind of game situations, because the one thing you can’t simulate, even when you’re facing [Ryan] Zimmerman and [Gerardo] Parra and whoever, is real game situations, and when you amp it up and when you really, as he says, ‘Let it eat,’ and are throwing 100 and 105% effort, and then you really can never replicate that other than when you’re ready to go and pitch, so we’ll see how he feels, it’s good news, but we’re going to be careful with him obviously, because he’s a huge part of what we’re trying to do here, and we always have to remember we have to sit on the guy because he wants to pitch today, tomorrow, and Friday, so we have to really kind of look through what he says, and he knows his body very, very well, but he’s an ultra-competitor, and he’s Superman, so we’ve got to really make sure that he’s feeling good and ready for this long-term, because we’re hoping to play for a couple more months now.”
Scherzer went through his post-start, day-after routine following the sim game on Tuesday, throwing in Nationals Park today, and then he talked with reporters afterwards, declaring that he is, as Rizzo predicted, ready to return to the rotation.
“I’m ready to pitch in a game,” Scherzer said, as quoted on by NBCSports Washington writer Todd Dybas.
“I’m good to go,” he added. “I’ve thrown a pen. Threw in a sim game. The pitches feel there. Throwing a bullpen is not going to do any difference. You just got to get in a game to get a feel for everything.”
So when will Scherzer actually return to the Nationals’ rotation? Whenever the medical staff and the Nats’ brass clears him to apparently:
Martinez isn’t committing to anything yet with Scherzer but still needs to talk to him and the training staff. Insisted this will be their decision, not Max’s. But this weekend certainly is in play, with a limited pitch count.— Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) August 14, 2019
Even when he does return, after a significant amount of time off, as skipper Davey Martinez said on Tuesday, he’ll have to work himself back to full strength, and start slowly.
“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.”