Strasburg back to normal, but Scherzer has sprained ankle

The Nationals ace everyone’s been waiting to hear about is fully healthy and throwing in the early days of spring training. The one nobody had been asking about, however, is currently being held back after suffering a minor injury before camp officially began.

While Stephen Strasburg has fully recovered from last summer’s right wrist surgery and is fully participating at workouts, Max Scherzer is not throwing for now after spraining his left ankle two weeks ago.

Scherzer-Sweaty-Atlanta-Sidebar.jpgAccording to manager Davey Martinez, Scherzer hurt himself while conditioning. He has since attempted to resume throwing off a mound but said he still felt the injury in his landing ankle, so the club instructed him to stop throwing until it’s healed.

“He said he felt OK, and he went to throw a bullpen and he felt it,” Martinez said today from West Palm Beach, Fla., during his first Zoom session of the spring with reporters. “So we told him: ‘It’s early, we’re going to back off a little bit.’”

Minor ailments are nothing new for Scherzer, including those suffered during spring training. And with six weeks to go until opening night, there doesn’t appear to be any serious concern right now he won’t have enough time to get himself ready to pitch.

But the Nationals have instructed the notoriously amped-up 36-year-old to slow things down and take things day to day. He wasn’t among the pitchers who threw off the mound this morning, and it doesn’t appear he’s scheduled to do it Friday, either.

“Hopefully, this is something that won’t hold him back too much,” Martinez said. “But we’re early in the spring. We’re going to slow him down a little bit. His arm feels great. He’s in really good shape. As we all know, this is the last year on his contract, so he’s going to push himself. But we need to be careful right now.”

This is a critical season for Scherzer, whose $210 million deal expires in the fall and will make him a free agent for the first time in seven years. It’s also a critical season for Strasburg, who still has six years and $210 million remaining on his massive contract but threw only five innings last summer before needing carpal tunnel surgery on his right wrist.

Strasburg, who hasn’t spoken to reporters since early August, had what those close to him described as a normal offseason. He has fully recovered from his surgery and is participating fully this spring.

“He is in preparation mode, not in rehabilitation mode,” general manager Mike Rizzo said.

Because Strasburg threw so little last summer, the Nationals will be watching the 32-year-old closely this spring as he builds his arm back up. But all indications to date suggest he’s back to normal, and Martinez said he’s scheduled to throw off the bullpen mound with teammates Friday.

“He’s going to get ready to start the season just like normal; normal spring training for him,” the manager said. “He looks good. He looks great, actually. And he feels good, which is the most important thing. That being said, we all know he threw five innings last year, so we’re going to keep eyes on him and just build him up.”

The two other veterans in the Nationals rotation, Patrick Corbin and Jon Lester, both threw off the mound during Thursday morning’s workout. Among their teammates who also threw were relievers Daniel Hudson, Tanner Rainey and Brad Hand.

blog comments powered by Disqus