CINCINNATI - If reliever Shawn Kelley can get through throwing long toss and on flat ground today and Sunday, he could be in line to throw a bullpen session early next week
“It could be Monday (or) Tuesday,” Kelley said. “The bullpen depends on how the next two days of throwing goes.”
Kelley has been on the 10-day disabled list since June 18 (retroactive to June 17) with a right trapezius strain. It’s his second stint on the DL this season, having previously been down with a lower back strain from May 2-12.
“I feel a lot better,” said Kelley, who has posted a 3-2 record with a 7.00 ERA and four saves in 22 games. “The first time, when I was coming back, when I really started to increase the intensity was when my neck started acting up. We’re just not getting too far ahead of ourselves.”
The right-hander went from being one of the most reliable members of the Nationals bullpen last season to injury-affected struggles this season that have hindered manager Dusty Baker’s ability to trust him in any meaningful role.
Kelley has allowed nine home runs in only 18 innings pitched. It’s been a frustrating turn for the veteran right-hander.
“I tried to rush the first time and pretty much every injury my whole career, I’ve tried to rush,” he said. “I still haven’t learned. But I try to tell myself to get it right, get it healthy and be honest with them with about how I feel.”
Outfielder Michael A. Taylor, on the DL with a right oblique strain since July 7, is working out, but Baker has no idea when he will begin baseball activities.
“It depends on how he feels,” Baker said. “Because when he first hurt it, it was hard for him to breathe or roll over in bed or cough or anything like that. So he’s advanced from where he was before.”
Baker met for an extended period before Saturday’s game with injured outfielder Jayson Werth, whose left big toe injury continues to slowly heal. Werth has stopped some baseball activities, though Baker insists he’s doing what he can to stay in shape.
Werth has missed 36 games while on the 10-day disabled list.
The manager is hopeful that Werth will return from the DL soon after he’s cleared to resume baseball work. It’s likely the veteran will need a short injury rehabilitation assignment with one of the team’s local minor league affiliates.
“I just talked to Jayson for a long time. You guys saw him in here,” Baker said. “He was just shut down from some of the activities. Because Jayson, he’s a worker. Sometimes time is the only healer. But again, he’s doing everything possible to stay in shape so when he does start activity again hopefully it won’t be too much longer after that.”
Update: There will be no no-hitter tonight - Billy Hamilton took care of that with a leadoff ground rule double in the first inning - but Max Scherzer is back to doing Max Scherzer things.
After Hamilton’s double, he walked Zack Cozart, then proceeded to mow down the next three hitters on swinging strikeouts. In the second, he walked Eugenio Suárez, then fanned the next three hitters in swinging fashion, finishing off Reds starter Luis Castillo in a mismatch of epic proportions.
Through two innings, Scherzer has six strikeouts and is looking every bit as dominant as he was in the first half of the season. We’re scoreless heading to the home third.
Update II: Luis Castillo held the Nats hitless until the fourth, when they took a 3-0 lead. Bryce Harper slapped a one-out single to center and scored on Daniel Murphy’s two-out double off the wall in left-center for a 1-0 edge. The next batter, Anthony Rendon, homered to left-center, his 17th of the season increasing the lead to 3-0.
Harper now has a 10-game hitting streak and an 18-game on-base streak. Rendon extended his hitting streak to nine games.
Update III: When Adam Duvall fanned to end the Reds fifth, he was Scherzer’s 10th strikeout victim of the night. It’s his 12th game with 10 or more strikeouts this season and the 61st of his career.
Update IV: Scherzer is done after six shutout innings. He allowed three hits, walked four and fanned 10. Of his 95 pitches, 67 found the strike zone.
He leaves with a 10-0 lead. Ryan Raburn smoked an 0-2 curveball from reliever Michael Lorenzen into the stands in left-center for his second homer of the season. Later in the inning, Harper dumped an RBI single into left to score Brian Goodwin, who had walked, stolen second and gone to third on Stephen Drew’s single to right. Ryan Zimmerman walked to load the bases for Murphy, who kept the line moving with an RBI single. Rendon then touched Blake Wood for a grand slam, the second of his career. It’s his third career multiple-homer game and he’s got six RBIs.
Enny Romero will work the seventh for the Nats.
Update V: After Romero struck out the side in the seventh, Baker gave rookie Austin Adams the ball for his major league debut in the eighth. Let’s just say it didn’t go well.
Adams threw only six of his 21 pitches for strikes, hit a batter, threw a wild pitch, issued a bases-loaded walk and allowed an RBI single. Oliver Pérez came on to get three outs, working out of a three-on jam. It’s 10-2 Nationals heading to the ninth.
Update VI: It’s a final. Nationals 10, Reds 7.