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Scherzer's goal: 'Get better every single year'

Coming off consecutive NL Cy Young Awards, Nats ace already starting offseason routine
MLB.com @JamalCollier

WASHINGTON -- Max Scherzer just won his third Cy Young Award last month -- and his second in the National League with the Nats -- so what has his offseason been like?

"Changing diapers. Wiping butts," Scherzer said with a laugh. He became a first-time father late last month when his wife, Erica, gave birth to their first daughter, Brooklyn.

WASHINGTON -- Max Scherzer just won his third Cy Young Award last month -- and his second in the National League with the Nats -- so what has his offseason been like?

"Changing diapers. Wiping butts," Scherzer said with a laugh. He became a first-time father late last month when his wife, Erica, gave birth to their first daughter, Brooklyn.

Between the birth of his daughter and winning the NL's top pitching honor, Scherzer's offseason has provided enough distractions that have helped him get past a difficult end to the 2017 season. Not only did the Nationals lose in Game 5 of the National League Division Series, but Scherzer was also on the mound for a bizarre and disastrous fifth inning. He entered the game with the Nats leading, 4-3, and he left with his team trailing, 7-4, as the Cubs grabbed a lead they would never relinquish en route to the NL Championship Series.

That made 2017 an up-and-down year for Scherzer.

On one hand, when Scherzer was on the mound and healthy, he was one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball, and he was rewarded for it with a second consecutive NL Cy Young Award. His numbers somehow improved from 2016, and he is poised to continue being one of the best pitchers in the game.

Video: Scherzer named 2017 NL Cy Young Award winner

Yet Scherzer battled a series of nagging injuries throughout the year -- neck stiffness, a left calf bruise, a right hamstring tweak -- and only now does he say he feels 100 percent healthy. And he took the loss hard after Game 5 in what was ultimately a disappointing finish to the Nationals' season.

Still, Scherzer feels fortunate he has not had much time to dwell on that disappointment. Instead, he has begun to focus on 2018, and he plans to be even better. Even after winning consecutive NL Cy Young Awards, Scherzer has already started his offseason training routine, and he is searching for ways to improve.

"You've got to get better every single year, it doesn't matter," Scherzer said. "It's a new year. You have to find a way to improve yourself. You have to look back on everything that you've done and critique yourself and find the holes in your game that you can continue to get better."

Worth noting from Nationals Winterfest

Adam Eaton (torn ACL) says he expects to be ready for Opening Day after what he called the worst year in his life in 2017 rehabbing from injury.

Koda Glover has been playing catch for the past three weeks, and he says his arm feels good. Barring a setback, he expects he will be ready "without a doubt" for the start of Spring Training.

Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Washington Nationals, Max Scherzer