Max Scherzer was just twelve pitches into his outing against the San Francisco Giants last night in Nationals Park when he tweaked his groin throwing a pitch to Brandon Belt, and a visit to the mound by trainer Paul Lessard and manager Davey Martinez, and one pitch on which he tested it and felt it again, ended his start with one down in the top of the first.
“Threw a pitch there to Brandon Belt and all of a sudden I felt my groin tweak on me,” the 36-year-old veteran told reporters after Washington’s 1-0 loss in the series opener against San Francisco.
“When I had that happen,” Scherzer continued, “... it’s foreign for me to have that type of injury, on that location on my body, knew I needed to take a warm-up pitch. I couldn’t look at myself straight if I didn’t throw another warm-up pitch. So, obviously I had to get it right out there, give it another second, try to make another pitch and obviously once I made that warm-up it grabbed again in the same spot, so it just wasn’t an injury that you can pitch through.”
“I was — the minute I saw it I thought, ‘Oh boy,’” manager Davey Martinez said of his initial reaction to seeing Scherzer grimace and stretch his groin on the mound. “Went out there, he tried to throw a pitch, and right away I saw his face and I told him, ‘You’re done. We’ve got to get you checked out.’
“So, after the game, I didn’t know anything until after the game about the MRI, and like I said, it was a lot better news than I thought.
“Fortunately enough got the MRI back,” Scherzer told reporters, “and the good news is that it’s not a muscle strain, it’s just a little inflammation of the adductor, fascia of the adductor, something like that. Basically, it’s not a muscle strain.
“It’s really a best-case scenario in terms of what the injury is, and that I’m really day-to-day and that this could subside pretty quickly here.”
“I thought it was a muscle pull in his groin and it turned out not to be that,” Martinez said.
“We’re still not out of the woods, we’ll see how he feels tomorrow.”
Through 13 starts and 77 1⁄3 IP thus far in 2021, Scherzer has a 2.21 ERA, a 3.05 FIP, 15 walks (1.75 BB/9), and 104 Ks (12.10 K/9). To lose him for any significant length of time would be a devastating blow for a team that’s already without Stephen Strasburg (nerve irritation in his neck).
Fortunately, at least at this point, neither Scherzer or his manager thinks this will be a long-term issue.
“I was pretty confident that this was very mild,” Scherzer said of his thoughts going into the MRI. “I could feel it on one pitch and that’s where I knew I didn’t blow through it.
“Even in that warmup pitch the second time that, ‘Hey, I didn’t blow through it.’ I got something here, I can only make this worse if I continue to pitch.
“Going into the clubhouse I was frustrated as hell to go out, but there was nothing I could do about it.
“I wasn’t worried really beyond that this was just a little grab and it turns out that’s what it was.”
“We’ve got to be cautious, we really do. We don’t want this to get any worse, that’s for sure,” Martinez said. “So, we’re going to be smart about it, and like I said, we’ll see how he feels in the next day or so and then we’ll go from there.”
“Our medical staff is very aggressive when it comes to these sprains and strains,” Scherzer added, “and throughout the years here they’ve done a great job of getting me back on the field as quickly as possible with some of these lower body injuries, and so I expect for this to unfold the same way.”