WASHINGTON -- With a splint on his nose and a black right eye, Max Scherzer stood in manager Dave Martinez’s office Tuesday night and went through his pitching motion, complete with his custom scowl. Hours earlier, he had fouled a ball off his face during a bunting drill, breaking his
WASHINGTON -- With a splint on his nose and a black right eye, Max Scherzer stood in manager Dave Martinez’s office Tuesday night and went through his pitching motion, complete with his custom scowl. Hours earlier, he had fouled a ball off his face during a bunting drill, breaking his nose and putting his start Wednesday seemingly in question.
But before Scherzer left Nationals Park last night, he assured his manager about his status for Wednesday.
“I’m pitching,” Martinez recalled Scherzer saying. “Expect me to pitch tomorrow.”
Following the Nationals' 6-2 win over the Phillies in Game 1 of a split doubleheader, Martinez confirmed that Scherzer felt well enough to start Game 2. Other than the bruise he will be sporting underneath his right eye, he may not need to wear any extra protection over his face while on the mound.
The Nats feared that he may have woken up Wednesday with increased swelling under his eye, or that he could have had trouble breathing through a broken nose. But when he arrived at Nationals Park, he had no issues.
“I feel like it only could happen to him,” starter Patrick Corbin said, following his eight-strikeout performance in Game 1 of the doubleheader. “He's going to go out there, thrive on it and be ready to go.”
Scherzer injured himself during a routine bunting drill in early batting practice for pitchers on Tuesday, when the ball bounced off his bat and struck him directly in the face. Scherzer started bleeding before heading to the team’s training room, and he was eventually diagnosed with a broken nose. A CT scan also came back negative.
The Nats had set up a pair of contingency plans if Scherzer had been unable to pitch, with Austin Voth activated as the Nats’ 26th man and available for both games of the doubleheader. Erick Fedde could also pitch on normal rest.
But it was going to take more than a broken nose to keep Scherzer off the mound Wednesday night, even with an ominous weather forecast creating the possibility of a game getting postponed for the third consecutive night.
“Other than his eye, he’s good,” Martinez said. “He’s got a nice shiner. I just wanted to make sure that he was good. He came in and we just saw him, and he’s good.”
Jamal Collier has covered the Nationals for MLB.com since 2016. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.