It sounded Scherzer-ish. Scherzer-esque? Or Max-like? Whatever. It sounded like something Max Scherzer would do, throwing a 65-pitch simulated game like the Washington Nationals’ veteran right-hander reportedly did on the first day of Spring Training 2.0.
But it, like, wasn’t, you know, exactly true or accurate.
Manager Davey Martinez told reporters on Day 1 of “Summer Camp” that Scherzer threw a total of 65 pitches in a two-inning simulated game in Nationals Park and looked great, but the 35-year-old, 12-year veteran set the record straight when he spoke to reporters on the second day of workouts.
“Yeah, a couple guys have told me I threw 65 pitches yesterday, no, that’s not the case,” the Nationals’ ace said.
“I threw two innings, 32 pitches yesterday. For me, I’m on target where to ramp up here, for four starts to go 2-3-4-5 [innings], and then be ready to throw six innings, when I do get to start.
“Physically I feel good. Ready to be able to do that and ramp up for the season.”
Scherzer, heading into the sixth year of the 7-year/$210M deal he signed with the Nationals in 2015, said he was able, while the baseball world was shut down, to keep working out and stay in shape, both at home, and as The Athletic’s Brittany Ghiroli reported this week, in live bullpen sessions at Cressey Sports Performance gyms in Florida, where he stayed to wait as the coronavirus spread around the country.
“It was weird,” Scherzer said of the shutdown. “I’ve never been one to have like a home gym or anything like that, but I found a way just to get used to it. I had to.
“Was able to get by with just a few weights and some bands. And was able to stay pretty much completely on my program of where I wanted to lift both upper and lower [body].
“Was able to do everything I needed to be able to do to stay physically in shape to come back whenever the season was going to start and be ready to compete.”
While he’s happy to be working out in D.C. again, and working towards the start of the 60-game 2020 campaign, which is set to start for the Nats (reportedly) on July 23rd, Scherzer, who, as union representative for the Nationals, and a member of the MLBPA’s eight-member executive subcommittee, was deeply involved in negotiations with MLB on a potential plan, said he was ultimately disappointed that they couldn’t work out a deal to get things going a little sooner.
“I just wish we were playing baseball today, July 4th,” Scherzer said.
“I think that was possible. And the fact that we [aren’t], that was a failure on a lot of different levels.
“Other than that, I’m just happy to be back, and that we are going to have our season and continue to go. That’s all we can do. You can’t cry about it.
“So just go forward and just meet every challenge that we can and go out there and get ready for the season.”
The challenges include navigating the protocols MLB and the MLBPA set up to try to keep everyone safe while the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc around both the country and the world.
His early experiences with the safety protocols that are set up in Nationals Park?
“It felt weird coming in,” Scherzer acknowledged. “It feels like an eternity since we were at Spring Training, so much has happened in everybody’s lives since March.
“To be able to actually have the season get going, it was a sense of relief kind of, to be able to get back in, get back around the guys, start ramping back up for the season here right around the corner.”
It’s going to happen fast, of course, with just weeks to get ready before things start (if they start), with the current plan for 60 games in 66 days before the postseason in October.
“That’s the weird part in this: Is that we’re going to be playing our first game in 20-something days,” Scherzer said.
“So, you’ve got to get ready. You were hearing about the protocols and everything that was going to be happening.
“Until you actually get in here and see it, yeah, it’s extensive. Just everything you’ve got to do. They’re thinking about every little thing.
“We’re wearing masks everywhere inside. Keeping distance, keeping some groups small right now.
“You can’t really touch anything. You can’t even have bottled water, it’s out, it’s warm, you can’t even get it in a fridge.
“They’ve really thought of everything of how to mitigate the risk here. So, for me I feel very safe being in this clubhouse given the testing that we have as well.”