WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - (AP) — Washington Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer was scratched from Tuesday’s scheduled start against Miami because of fatigue on his right side.
“There’s not even a strain. There’s no MRIs. There’s nothing like that,” Scherzer said. “This is purely just a fatigue and endurance thing.”
The 35-year-old right-hander said his right side has lagged behind the rest of his body as he attempts to build strength in preparation for the season.
The fatigue is in the area of the latissimus dorsi, serratus and oblique muscles.
“It’s the one spot that’s a little bit behind,” Scherzer said.
He currently isn’t feeling pain when he throws.
“In the grand scheme of things, knock on wood, arm, shoulder, elbow, that all feels great,” Scherzer said.
Scherzer had made three spring training starts. He expects to pitch Sunday against the Mets and remain on track to start the World Series champions’ opener on March 26 at New York. Nationals manager Dave Martinez has not announced his opening day starter.
Scherzer last pitched on March 3, allowing two runs in 3 1/3 innings.
“I recovered, I thought, nicely enough to make it out for my next start, but the training staff saw that I was ahead of the program and just felt like it was an unnecessary risk to take the ball today,” Scherzer said.
Still, he did lobby to make Tuesday’s start.
“I thought I could go out there and just throw jabs and punches and not throw any haymakers, but they didn’t even want to take that chance,” Scherzer said.
Scherzer replaced Tuesday’s start with a toss-session.
“If you long toss it really opens up everything,” Scherzer said. “If you are throwing it mechanically correct, then my side is getting more and more endurance. I’m throwing the ball plenty far. Everything’s firing on all cylinders.”
Scherzer is followed in the rotation by World Series MVP, Stephen Strasburg, Patrick Corbin and Aníbal Sánchez. There is a competition for the fifth slot.
He started the opening game of spring training, and the Nationals elected to have Strasburg and Corbin skip the first time through the rotation in favor of throwing bullpens. Missing this start puts Scherzer on the same game pace as Strasburg and Corbin.
A three-time Cy Young Award winner, Scherzer was 11-7 with a 2.92 ERA last year, when he pitched 172 1/3 innings during the regular season and 30 in the postseason.
He endured two stints on the injured list last season. Sidelined by inflammation under his right shoulder, he returned for one start, then was out with a rhomboid strain.
“I’ve dealt with plenty of other aliments across my body throughout the years and know where you have to back off and know how you can still toe the mound and still pitch at a high level and maybe not just get into it as much,” Scherzer said.