Scherzer’s knuckle causing pain; opening day in doubt
WEST PALM BEACH, FLA. >> Neither Max Scherzer nor Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker is certain the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner will be ready to pitch when opening day rolls around.
That’s because Scherzer is dealing with pain from a broken knuckle on the ring finger of his throwing hand, an injury that arose late season but wasn’t diagnosed until December. Baker said he’s thinking about contingency plans just in case his ace can’t pitch when Washington starts the regular season April 3.
“I’ve dealt with aches and pains and strains. This is a whole different ballgame,” Scherzer said Thursday. “When you start dealing with a fracture, rest is really your only option to make everything heal.”
Thursday was the first day of official workouts for Washington’s pitchers and catchers at the team’s new spring training facility. While others such as Stephen Strasburg, Tanner Roark or Gio Gonzalez stood atop a mound for a 10-minute bullpen session, Scherzer threw elsewhere.
Only this week did Scherzer start throwing baseballs at all in preparation for the 2017 season, and that was “with a modified grip, but not my true grip,” he explained. Before that recent step in the right direction, the righty was sticking to tossing tennis or lacrosse balls, because they were smaller and not as painful.
Scherzer called the problem with the bottom knuckle on his ring finger “essentially healed,” but he did not offer an answer when asked whether he’ll be ready for opening day.
“I don’t even want to comment on it, because I don’t even know what I’m going to be able to do or not,” Scherzer said. “It’d be unfair for me to even project or even talk about that.”
Maddux dons beard for prank, fools Cubs’ Bryant with curve
LAS VEGAS >> Greg Maddux fooled plenty of hitters during his career — but maybe never in a disguise.
In a video posted Thursday, the Hall of Fame pitcher donned a fake beard and posed as a sound guy throwing his trademark curveball during a round of batting practice with unsuspecting Chicago Cubs star Kris Bryant.
The prank’s premise: Maddux patiently held a boom mic and offered occasional swing critiques during a video shoot while Bryant took cuts against another pitcher who left, allowing Maddux to step in.
“This sound guy’s got a good curveball — what is this?” asked Bryant, laughing.