BY TYLER BYRUM, @theTylerByrum
Opening day is less than three weeks away, but the Washington Nationals have already announced that their ace will not be on the mound.
Prior to today's spring training game against the Mets, manager Dusty Baker responded when asked if ace Max Scherzer was to start on opening day. "At this point, probably not."
Asked Dusty if Scherzer could still be ready for opening day: "At this point, probably not." No setbacks, #Nats just don't want to force it.— Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) March 16, 2017
Afterwards, Baker would go on to point out that day two, three and four count as well in the Nationals season.
Earlier in the off-season, it was announced that Scherzer suffered a stress fracture in the knuckle of his throwing hand ring finger back in August. Playing through the discomfort, the 32-year-old ended the 2016 season winning the 2016 National League Cy Young Award.
This injury would go on to prevent the nine-year-veteran from playing in the World Baseball Classic and have him assigned to a handful of minor league starts before Washington officially starts their's.
Scherzer will throw in minor league game today. Said he's been able to work some two-finger fastballs into mix, and plans to use some today.— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) March 16, 2017
Last season, Scherzer went 20-7 as a starter and led the NL with 284 strikeouts and a 0.968 WHIP. The Nationals’ ace was also the first pitcher with 20 wins, 250 strikeouts and a sub-.200 BAA (batting average against) since Bob Gibson in 1968, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
Stephen Strasburg, would be the next pitcher expected to make the start on opening day. In his first seven years in the majors, Strasburg has battled injuries, year after year. He missed the final month of 2016 and finished with a 15-4 season due to a strained flexor mass.
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