“He was sore after his last start,” said Nationals manager Davey Martinez. “He had an MRI during the break. Came back negative. But he is sore. So we talked and we decided just push him back a couple days and see how he feels. We are at a point now where he went through an unbelievable run and we’re just trying to take care of him.”
The initial plan was for Scherzer to skip pitching in the All-Star Game with hopes that the additional rest would prepare him for Sunday’s series finale here against the Phillies. But when he let Martinez and the medical staff know his back was still sore, they decided to be more cautious.
The skipper said they will move veteran Aníbal Sánchez into Scherzer’s spot Sunday.
“What he did the last four or five weeks was incredible,” Martinez said. “I’m OK with when he is ready. I don’t want this to linger I want it to go away so if he needs a couple days ... right now coming off the break, everybody’s strong and we can figure this out.”
Scherzer did conduct baseball-related activities pregame throwing from 75 feet, and seemed in good spirits in the clubhouse.
Third baseman Anthony Rendon did not attend the All-Star Game at all, spending the entire week in D.C. getting treatment for his sore left hamstring and left quad.
“He says he feels good,” Martinez said of Rendon. “He had a lot of treatment. My suggestion was not to pick up a baseball, get your legs right, everything right. But he came in today and said felt good.
“He worked four straight days in trying to get ready and he says he actually feels pretty good. Kudos for him for staying back and getting stuff done and getting himself right for the next run.”
* Left-hander Jonny Venters was placed on the 10-day injured list with a left shoulder strain and the Nationals called up right-hander Kyle McGowin. Martinez said McGowin will pitch out the bullpen today.
“I pitched in that extra inning game,” Venters said. “I lost us the game. And I felt good the whole time out there. The next day playing catch I was really sore. I just figured it was normal. I think I pitched two days in a row. The next day it bothered me to play catch. Thats when I kind of figured something maybe a little more than normal was going on. So I figured I should say something and try and get it figured out quick.”
The Nationals did not administer an MRI. Venters has a little tendinitis in his shoulder according to the skipper: “He’s a guy that’s been around a long time. We want to make sure we take care of him and see if he can come back as soon as possible.”
* Martinez said the pitching rtoation for next week is “still up in the air” in Baltimore. Austin Voth could be the fifth starter that gets a shot against the Orioles. But now that McGowin is here, he could get consideration.
“As of right now it’s open, we’ll see,” Martinez said. “I know he pitched the other day and had a really good outing so we’ll see what happens here till we get to the Baltimore series.”
The skipper also explained why they selected McGowin instead of Kyle Barraclough for this series. McGowin is the choice because he can also start and Barraclough is just not ready to return. Of course, it also might mean they are happy with Fernando Rodney, Wander Suero and Tanner Rainey in the eighth inning spot for this week.
“We want Barraclough to just hone in on everything, his mechanics,” Martinez said. “McGowin’s been pitching good. We want Barraclough to gain some confidence and get his mechanics right before we call him back up.”
McGowin has made 11 starts in the minors, going 7-2 with a 3.86 ERA at Triple-A Fresno.
Meanwhile, Double-A Harrisburg announced that the Nationals have signed former Royals right-hander Brad Boxberger and assigned him to Harrisburg.