Suzuki on target to return Tuesday night to catch Scherzer

Catcher Kurt Suzuki is on target to catch right-hander Max Scherzer in the nightcap of the Nationals’ doubleheader against the Phillies Tuesday night, bench coach Chip Hale announced.

“He looked good,” Hale said. “He was out at least 120 (feet) throwing hard. Feels good. We will see how it feels tomorrow. It’s a big key, the doubleheader. Max (Scherzer) will pitch the night game, so that will probably be the one that Kurt will catch.”

Suzuki-Tag-Play-at-Plate-White-Sidebar.jpgSuzuki said he felt good after pregame workouts Monday.

“Good. I worked out again today,” Suzuki said. “I’ll take it day-by-day and see how I feel, but progressing good. We will see how I feel tomorrow. I worked out today and did some stuff, picked up the intensity a little bit. Just keep progressing.

“I threw enough to test it out and keep the rehab going. Keep it progressing and keep building up. Obviously, the goal is to get back soon as I can.”

Suzuki demonstrated he can still hit with a dramatic three-run double in the 10th inning Saturday night in the Nats’ 10-4 win at Miami.

“Swinging is fine. Swinging is good now,” Suzuki said. “It’s just a matter of going out there and throwing. Obviously, in my position I throw every pitch. I throw as much as a pitcher, less intensity...”

And that is the key. When he originally went out with the arm soreness, there was a question as to whether the elbow tingles were hampering his work prior to the injury. Suzuki confirmed that he was not feeling pain prior to Sept. 7 in Atlanta.

“No, it was the first time that I had (the issue),” he said. “I know my numbers didn’t look good, but I felt good.

“That’s why I said if I can play ... I didn’t throw anybody out before, so why not? What’s the difference?” Suzuki said, laughing.

The veteran backstop said he will not start in a game unless he feels he can throw the way he needs to for an entire game.

“Honestly, if I play, I feel like I can do everything that I need to do to compete,” Suzuki said. “I’m not going to go out there and put myself in jeopardy and the team in jeopardy and not be able to compete. So, if I’m in the lineup, everybody should know that I can compete out there and feel like I’m good enough to go.”

Suzuki’s last start was Sept. 5 at Atlanta, catching for Stephen Strasburg.

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