Nationals ace Max Scherzer is ready to get back on the mound and face major league hitters.
“I’m good to go. I’m ready to get in a game,” Scherzer said Wednesday. “I was able to go out there and play catch today. I want to pitch.”
The 35-year-old right-hander doesn’t feel a minor league rehab outing is needed, specifically saying he’s ready for “the big leagues.”
His proclamation came less than 24 hours after throwing 61 pitches on Tuesday, including tosses in the bullpen and two innings worth of a simulated game.
Scherzer went on the injured list with a mild rhomboid strain on July 29 , retroactive to July 26. This is his second stint on the injured list this summer for the same ailment. He missed his 17th game Tuesday as the Nationals beat the Reds.
Manager Dave Martinez was certainly glad when Scherzer gave him a thumbs-up before Wednesday’s game with the Reds, but he wants to be cautious and planned to talk more to the medical staff. Martinez said the decision on when Scherzer pitches rests with him and the medical staff.
“That is exactly what we are talking about,” Martinez said. “I want to make sure that we are cautious. You are talking about one of the best pitchers in the game.”
Scherzer has won the Cy Young Award three times and pitched two no-hitters in 2015, his first season with Washington. This season, he is 9-5 with a 2.41 ERA and 189 strikeouts in 134 ⅓ innings.
The Nationals entered their Wednesday afternoon game with the Reds at 64-55 overall, leading in the National League wild card race. They were six games back of the first-place Atlanta Braves in the NL East.
Washington is off Thursday and begins a three-game series on Friday with Milwaukee and hot-hitting Christian Yelich. The Nationals have announced that lefty Patrick Corbin (9-5, 3.41) will start Friday, but they have not named starters for Saturday and Sunday.
There is a chance Scherzer could pitch Sunday, since that would be five days after his simulated game on Tuesday.
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