Washington Nationals right-hander Max Scherzer, who has been on the 10-day injured list since July 29, is ready to return to the big-league mound again as soon as his team is willing to let him.
"I haven't been on the mound for so long that to be able to come in today and have it not get worse, that was the biggest thing," Scherzer told reporters after throwing a two-inning simulated game on Tuesday. "And have it get better. The fact it actually got better, that shows you that now you're in the natural progression of: OK, I'm throwing two innings, where I'm at there, I'm healing up and I'm recovering well. Throwing two innings in a game situation ... I feel like I'm able to pitch in a game."
Scherzer played catch on Wednesday at Nationals Park and didn't experience any problems following the simulated game.
"I'm good to go," the three-time Cy Young Award winner said. "I've thrown a ‘pen, threw in a sim game. The pitches feel there. Throwing a bullpen's not going to make any difference. You just got to get in a game and get a feel for everything."
After making only one start since July 6 because of upper back injuries, the Nationals ace wants to return from the injured list this weekend, but his fate is in the hands of Washington's medical and coaching staffs.
"It'll come down to me and the medical staff, yeah," Nationals manager Davey Martinez confirmed. "Like I said, we're going to be very conscious, and we'll see where we're at. The good news is that he feels really, really good. He woke up this morning and didn't feel anything. Normal soreness as he was pitching, which is great."
When he does pitch, which could be as early as Saturday or Sunday against the Milwaukee Brewers, the Nationals will limit his workload to possibly four or five innings, or about 60 to 70 pitches.
"We're going to build him up and be very cautious of how much he throws and how much he sits down," Martinez said. "The biggest thing is his up-and-downs and his recovery in between when he throws. So we have to be really conscious of that."
Scherzer, who is 9-5 this season with a 2.41 ERA over 20 starts, is ready to accept whatever the Nationals have planned for him.
"I want to pitch in the big leagues," he said. "I think I'm ready to pitch in the big leagues."
--Field Level Media