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Washington Nationals news & notes: Davey Martinez on Max Scherzer; Stephen Strasburg; and Wander Suero

Some highlights from Davey Martinez’s media availability on Sunday...

Scherzer Chatter:

Max Scherzer tweaked his groin 12 pitches into his start on Friday night, and left the mound at that point, though he and manager Davey Martinez downplayed the severity of the issue in their respective post game press conferences that night, after an MRI showed that their initial diagnosis was accurate. But that doesn’t mean Scherzer, 36, will be able to just jump right back into the rotation in time for his next scheduled outing.

Asked for an update on the Nationals’ ace before Sunday’s series finale with San Francisco’s Giants, Martinez said he had, “Nothing.”

“[Scherzer is] going to go out today and get loose try to play a little catch and then we’ll see where he’s at. He was in there getting some treatment, and then he’ll go out and play catch, and then we’ll see where he’s at from there.”

San Francisco Giants v Washington Nationals Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Martinez said that Scherzer’s next outing is up in the air for now as they try to assess where he’s at going forward.

“We’re going to — like I said, we’ll see how he feels after he plays catch, we’ll go from there.

“He’s scheduled to throw a bullpen tomorrow, so if he can make that bullpen then we’ll make a decision then.”

Is it safe to say he needs to make that bullpen if he’s not going to miss a turn in the rotation?

“That’s it,” Martinez said. “As of right now we’ll go [Jon] Lester, [Patrick] Corbin, and TBD,” against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Scherzer updated reporters on the field in Nationals Park after he got some throwing in on Sunday...

More Injured Starter Talk:

Stephen Strasburg is, of course, already on the IL, and the 32-year-old right-hander, who is dealing with some nerve irritation in his neck, hasn’t started throwing again yet.

“Stephen is not throwing. Right now he’s just rehabbing, conditioning, and doing all that stuff, but he hasn’t thrown yet,” Martinez said on Sunday.

Washington Nationals Workout Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Martinez said earlier this week that Strasburg was heading for a follow-up doctor visit in the near future, but as of the time he talked to reporters, that return trip had not take place.

“He’s going to have a follow-up, like I said, now we’re just waiting for that nerve irritation to go away and then once that — we’ll get him back to throwing,” Martinez said.

“He’s going to have to build himself up again, going to have to start throwing flat ground, some long-toss, and then we’ll get him on the mound.”

Suero’s Doing It Again:

Through 21 games and 18 23 IP this season, Wander Suero, 29, has put up a 3.38 ERA, a 3.42 FIP, five walks (2.41 BB/9), and 18 Ks (8.68 K/9), with a 44% GB% which is the highest mark of his career if it holds up for a full season, and a .206/.260/.353 line against thus far in his 4th season in the majors.

“He’s actually maturing a lot in knowing who he is and what he needs to do,” Martinez said on Sunday, when asked about the continued growth of the reliever since he made his MLB debut in 2018.

“We talk to him a lot about his mechanics and repeating his mechanics, he’s done really good this year with that. He’s done really good about holding runners on, trying to be a little quicker, how to pitch certain guys, especially left-handed hitters. What to do with his cutter, because obviously he throws cutters, and his changeup and his curveball, so he’s done a lot better, he’s paying more attention to the analytics, and when to throw the pitches that he wants to throw.

Atlanta Braves v Washington Nationals Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

“He’s been a student of the game, and he’s maturing and as you can see he’s pitched really well.”

Some small tweaks this year have helped Suero as well, his manager said.

“We talked about his lower half and using his lower half a little bit better,” Martinez explained.

“And he’s done that. And being a little bit quicker. I think him being a little quicker with his lower half, instead of bringing his leg way up, has helped him throw more consistent strikes and more in the zone.”

Suero’s Zone% (percentage of pitches in the zone) is up from 40.4% in 2020 to 48.9% so far this season, and he’s getting more called strikes as well (16.5%, up from 11.6% in ‘20). It’s all coming together for the right-hander, who’s been a valuable member of Martinez’s ‘pen.