Nationals

Martinez confident Scherzer can block out noise, focus on pitching

Nationals
Max Scherzer

Max Scherzer’s expected start Thursday in Philadelphia could be his last in a Nationals uniform.

The veteran right-hander has seen his name pop up in an increasing number of trade rumors over the last week as Washington has fallen deeper and deeper into the NL East standings. With just four days remaining before the July 30 trade deadline, Scherzer’s future with the Nationals has never been more uncertain.

Not that it’s bothering him. Manager Davey Martinez told reporters in his pregame press conference Monday that he’s not worried about how the rumor mill might be affecting Scherzer.

“He just wants to compete,” Martinez said. “As far as he's concerned, he's competing for us on Thursday and that's what he worries about."

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Despite being scratched from his last start with triceps discomfort, Scherzer has maintained a normal routine this week. He threw a bullpen session before Monday’s game and remains on track to take the ball for Thursday’s series finale.

“He threw the ball well but he likes a recovery period so I talked him after [and] he said in a few hours he’ll know more or less how he feels,” Martinez said. “But he likes to take that grace period and recover. But the ball came out really well. He threw well and felt good.”

If Scherzer is indeed traded this week, he will go down as the most highly decorated pitcher in Nationals history. In addition to winning a pair of Cy Young awards in D.C., Scherzer also made five All-Star Games, led the NL in strikeouts three times and helped the team to its first World Series title in 2019. He will be a free agent after this season.