Max Scherzer thought he was ready to get back on the mound in a major league start after his first sim game last week, but the Washington Nationals decided they wanted to see him throw in another simulated environment as he built towards his return from the Injured List after landing on the IL for the second time in two months back on July 29th.
While dealing with scapulothoracic bursitis and a mild rhomboid strain, Scherzer has made just one start since July 6th.
Scherzer threw 64 pitches over four innings in his second controlled outing according to reports from Nationals Park, and the 35-year-old right-hander sat down between “innings” again to simulate what he’d do in a real game.
“The biggest thing was when he sits down and kind of cools down a little bit, that’s when he felt it first,” Nats’ skipper Davey Martinez explained after Scherzer’s second sim game was in the (sim)-books.
“So now getting him to sit down and waiting ten minutes in-between [innings] and getting him back up there — hasn’t been any issues, ... so now it’s just the recovery from now until tomorrow to see how he bounces back.”
How he recovers after throwing is, of course, the key, and Martinez acknowledged that the three-time Cy Young award winner is champing at the bit after all this time off, and is, as his manager put it, a bit “ornery” right now.
“He wants to be on the mound,” Martinez said, “he wants to help us win, but this is part of it. He’s going to help us win. This is part of it, and hopefully tomorrow he wakes up, feels really good, and we’ll go from there.”
Barring any setbacks, Scherzer’s next trip to the mound could be in an actual game, but the Nationals aren’t committing to anything yet.
“We’re trying to schedule everything as if today he pitched. He’s got five days. So he’ll be on his regular routine,” Martinez told reporters, as quoted by MASN’s Mark Zuckerman.
His manager is as eager as anyone to get the Nats’ ace back in the rotation.
“I can’t wait,” Martinez said.
“I want to see Max Scherzer on the mound pitching for the Nationals. He’s never had this before. It’s something new for him. So we’re all anxious for him to get back on the mound and help us win.”
Before the IL stints, Scherzer was (9-5) in 20 starts, with a 2.41 ERA, 2.09 FIP, 25 walks (1.67 BB/9), 189 Ks (12.66 K/9), and a .215/.262/.341 line against in 134 1⁄3 IP. Will he return to the Nationals’ rotation this week?