Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer said he’s been dealing with neck spasms for a couple of days, but woke up Sunday “completely locked up” to the point where he needed his wife to help him get dressed.
The latest difficulty of Scherzer’s injury-plagued season was “a little thing that turned into a big thing that turned into a giant thing,” he said.
“I’m as disappointed as I possibly can be not to be able to pitch tonight,” Scherzer said. “It’s Game 5 of the World Series. I’ve pitched through so much crap in my career that would be easy to pitch through at this point. This is literally impossible to do anything with.”
Scherzer said the injury is more than a muscle spasm — it also affects the nerve.
“It’s not just a muscle spasm. In talking to the doctors here, the nerve that’s in the neck is all jammed up,” Scherzer said. “Thankfully, from the doctors, what they say is as long as I have no numbness coming down my arms or anything, you don’t actually deal with any serious, any long-term damage here.”
The three-time Cy Young winner said he’s dealt with neck spasms before, but none as painful as this current bout. He also emphasized that it’s in no way related to the lower back pain that sidelined him for most of July.
The spasms are happening on the right side of his neck, which affects his throwing arm. He was sporting a bandage on that side of his neck from receiving a cortisone shot, but that will take 48 hours to kick in.
“I can’t pick up my arm right now. So I can’t pitch,” Scherzer said.
Monday is a day off as the Nationals and Houston Astros travel from the District to Houston before Game 6 takes place Tuesday. Manager Dave Martinez confirmed that Stephen Strasburg will still start that game, but if Scherzer’s condition improves by then, he could come out of the bullpen that night.
And “if we go to Game 7, Max starts Game 7,” Martinez said.
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