Scherzer confident injury isn't serious, can't commit to Game 1 yet

Max Scherzer is confident the hamstring injury he suffered Saturday night is "nothing major," but the Nationals ace couldn't go so far this morning as to declare himself good to start Game 1 of the National League Division Series on Friday.

"That's tough to say right now," Scherzer said. "We're not even 24 hours out. We're still trying to get all the doctors to take a look at this and make sure that we have the absolute correct diagnosis. But we have a really, really good idea of what we've got here."

Scherzer-Throws-Blue-Sidebar.jpgScherzer hurt his right leg throwing a 2-2 changeup to the Pirates' Josh Bell in the top of the fourth Saturday night, his 54th pitch of the game. He landed awkwardly on the mound, then spent a few seconds trying to stretch out his leg before teammates noticed and converged on the mound, with manager Dusty Baker, pitching coach Mike Maddux and director of athletic training Paul Lessard joining them.

Scherzer tried to convince the authority figures to let him stay in the game, but they elected the cautious route. Both sides said they would not have been nearly as cautious had this been a more meaningful game and not simply a final tune-up for the postseason.

"I wouldn't have come out if that was a playoff game," Scherzer said. "It was just something that I couldn't take a chance going any farther, knowing that I felt that tweak and there's nothing good that can come out by continuing to pitch there. It is what it is."

Scherzer left the ballpark after the game to get what was described by the Nationals as a precautionary MRI. Though the specific diagnosis hasn't yet been outlined, Scherzer insisted it's not a significant injury.

"It was just a small tweak," the right-hander said. "It wasn't a major strain or anything. I can say that looking at the MRI, there's nothing major here. But to get a correct diagnosis, they wanted to have a couple other doctors look at it."

Scherzer made a point to say he can walk and run right now with no problems. He then took the field at Nationals Park and commenced his typical day-after-start game of catch.

Even prior to Saturday's incident, the Nationals had not made any announcements about their NLDS rotation order, leaving open the possibility that Stephen Strasburg would actually start Game 1 on Friday against the Cubs, with Scherzer taking the mound for Game 2 on Saturday. No matter the eventual order, either would be able to come back to start a potential Game 5 on full rest because of the two off-days built into the series schedule.

Scherzer himself pointed that out when asked whether there was any thought to pushing him back to Game 3 next Monday in Chicago, saying: "You can start two and five."

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