Max Scherzer’s return to D.C. may be happening one day earlier than expected.
The New York Mets announced Friday that an MRI revealed a stress reaction in Jacob deGrom’s right shoulder, an injury that caused “inflammation in the area.” The club is shutting its star right-hander down from throwing for a month before determining next steps. As a result, Scherzer is the likely candidate to take the ball Opening Day against the Nationals.
On Thursday, Mets manager Buck Showalter told reporters he believed Scherzer would be “comfortable” starting on regular rest after originally having five scheduled days off between his final spring training outing and his first start of the year. He wouldn’t, however, go as far to commit to Scherzer pitching Game 1 until he talked to him Friday.
“We’ll see how tomorrow goes,” Showalter said. “It’s how tomorrow goes, how does he feel on his workday, where he is. [Pitching coach Jeremy Hefner] and I looked at that about, guys really respond well when they do their work and they have that extra day before the season starts.”
Showalter also added that the Mets could catch a break with the weather forecast — projections give a 70% chance of rain — but now the Mets will have make do without deGrom regardless. With Scherzer being pushed up, the Nationals will likely also see Chris Bassitt, Carlos Carrasco and Taijuan Walker starting the other three games of opening weekend.
Scherzer, 37, signed a three-year, $130 million deal with the Mets this winter. He spent six and a half seasons in Washington, winning two Cy Youngs and helping lead them to a World Series title in 2019. The Nationals traded him and shortstop Trea Turner to the Los Angeles Dodgers at the deadline last summer to kickstart a retool and yield playing time to younger players.