Injury forces Scherzer from game after only 12 pitches

Any hopes the Nationals had of using a deep start by Max Scherzer to rest their weary bullpen went quickly by the wayside in the first inning of Friday night's game against the Giants.

Like 12 pitches.

Scherzer-Fires-Blue-Ariz-Sidebar.jpgScherzer departed after throwing a high-and-outside ball on a 2-2 pitch to Brandon Belt. The right-hander hopped awkwardly on the mound, squatted as if trying to flex a hamstring and then called for the trainers.

Manager Davey Martinez and director of athletic training Paul Lessard joined Scherzer and catcher Yan Gomes on the mound, and after a brief chat, Scherzer tried to throw a warmup pitch. He looked frustrated as he handed the ball to Martinez and exited the field with Lessard, heading down the tunnel to the Nationals clubhouse.

There's no immediate word on the extent of Scherzer's injury. The Nationals do not typically provide in-game injury updates.

Scherzer had gone to a 3-2 count on leadoff hitter LaMonte Wade Jr. before coaxing a fly ball to left fielder Kyle Schwarber. Right-hander Paolo Espino replaced Scherzer and got Belt to sky to left field, yielded a single to Buster Posey and got Brandon Crawford to pop out to shortstop Trea Turner.

Officially, Scherzer completed 1/3 of an inning, throwing six of his 12 pitches for strikes.

With a split doubleheader looming tomorrow as a result of Thursday's rainout, the Nationals were hoping for some length out of Scherzer to rest an overtaxed relief corps.

Instead, they'll need Espino to eat some innings before deciding whether Scherzer needs to be placed on the injured list.

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