Nationals

Max Scherzer is focused on strengthening back, ensuring no more flare-ups

Nationals

Max Scherzer doesn't know what caused his two back injuries in the past few weeks, but has a plan to ensure he isn't sidelined with the same injury again.

The Nationals ace called in to the Grant & Danny Show on 106.7 The Fan on Wednesday morning, when he broke down exactly what he's been dealing with over the past month. 

After he was initially placed on the injured list at the beginning of July with a mid-back strain (specific to his scapula), Scherzer worked back to make a start against Colorado on July 25 and threw 86 pitches in five innings. 

But the right-hander woke up the next morning with irritation in his mid-back again. After another MRI, Washington's medical staff determined the new problem was a strain to Scherzer's rhomboid muscle and treated him with a stem-cell shot. 

"I really don't think I came back [from the first injury] too soon," Scherzer said. "My entire life, every time I've been able to throw the ball full-out, I've made my starts...this is the only time I've had any type of injury where I am throwing full out, I'm throwing full-out bullpens and...had any type of ailment become worse."

Since then, the Nationals returned Scherzer to the 10-day injured list on Monday (retroactive to Saturday) and missed his scheduled start against the Braves on Tuesday as a result. 

 

The thing is, no one really knows what caused Scherzer's injury. And, now that the ace is back on the injured list for the second time this month, Scherzer isn't focused on figuring out why it happened, but instead on how to ensure it doesn't happen again. 

Scherzer, the Nationals' trainers and strength coaches are working on a program to target the muscles around the problem areas, which will keep the muscles "properly balanced" so that he doesn't have to deal with this injury again.

"I've always [prided] myself in getting out there and making 33, 34 starts," Scherzer said. "To not be out there is frustrating, but at the same time I feel fortunate...we're not dealing with anything major here."

"[We're trying to] come up with that right program of everything the back needs so that I can be completely durable and go out there and throw 100-plus pitches and recover." 

The righty will be eligible to come off the injured list on August 5, and he said all the doctors agree that the latest back strain should only be a 10-day injury. 

Plus, Scherzer is hopeful that once he can get back on the mound he'll be back to his usual self. 

"Once I can get through this little dent," Scherzer said, "I have the feel for all the pitches, my arm strength [is] built up...and everything, the shoulder, the elbow is good. So it's really [just] hit the ground running as soon as I can get back on the field." 

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