Scherzer, Sanchez swap weekend starts
Nats give ace extra day to rest right leg
WASHINGTON -- The Nationals decided to flip Anibal Sanchez and Max Scherzer in the rotation this weekend against the Pirates, tabbing Sanchez to start Saturday afternoon and Scherzer to start Sunday, giving their ace an extra day to recover after taking a comebacker off his leg in his last outing.
Scherzer threw a bullpen session on Thursday and he felt good enough to start Saturday, but manager Dave Martinez says the move was strictly precautionary. Sanchez could still throw on regular rest on Saturday so the Nats decided there was no reason to push Scherzer.
“If it wasn’t April 12, I think things would be a lot different,” Scherzer said. “And when you also consider the off-days we have here. I mean, literally it’s just Sanchie and I flipping days. No one else in the rotation gets moved. Everybody else stays on schedule. It really was for them an easy decision, because there wasn’t going to be any other moves that needed to be made.”
The early season off-days in the schedule allowed Scherzer to start three of the Nationals' first eight games of the year, during which he posted a 3.32 ERA with 28 strikeouts and four walks in 19 innings. On Sunday in New York, he took a shot off the right leg in the fifth inning off the bat of Keon Broxton, but he remained in the game. It was only once the adrenaline had disappeared after the game that he realized how sore his leg felt.
Scherzer had the leg wrapped in the days following the injury and he felt no issues during his bullpen session Thursday. However, Martinez and the team training staff stepped in and decided to take the extra day of caution to make sure he was 100 percent.
“If they needed me to pitch today, I could,” Scherzer said. “I can, but I understand. Hey, we’re early in the season. Be smart. You’re dealing with a leg injury. Leg injuries can turn into shoulder problems in a heartbeat. So I respect what I have here, and I understand where they’re coming from.”
• Lefty reliever Tony Sipp was available out of the bullpen Friday after leaving Wednesday’s game with some shoulder stiffness.