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Scherzer won't start Friday as he had hoped

MLB.com @JamalCollier

HOUSTON -- Despite initial optimism that his stint on the disabled list due to inflammation on the left side of his neck would cost him only one start, Max Scherzer will also miss his next turn in the rotation Friday night in New York.

Scherzer played catch prior to Wednesday's game against the Astros, but he has not thrown a bullpen session yet, which he normally would have done if he was in line to start Friday. However, he told reporters Wednesday he is a few days behind where he would like to be. Still, he believes it is a matter of days, not weeks.

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HOUSTON -- Despite initial optimism that his stint on the disabled list due to inflammation on the left side of his neck would cost him only one start, Max Scherzer will also miss his next turn in the rotation Friday night in New York.

Scherzer played catch prior to Wednesday's game against the Astros, but he has not thrown a bullpen session yet, which he normally would have done if he was in line to start Friday. However, he told reporters Wednesday he is a few days behind where he would like to be. Still, he believes it is a matter of days, not weeks.

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Pitching coach Mike Maddux said Scherzer, who is perhaps the front-runner for the National League Cy Young Award, is day to day and could throw a bullpen session in the coming days depending on how he feels.

"Maybe [Thursday], maybe Friday 'pen, maybe Saturday," Maddux said. "Taking it day by day."

Scherzer was limited to one inning during a start against the Marlins on Aug. 1 because of neck spasms, but the issue flared up again on the opposite side of his neck Friday, which caused him to get scratched from his start and put on the DL. He attributed the issue to failure to do his neck exercises in between starts.

Still, he has been receiving treatment daily and with a backdated DL stint was hopeful to miss only one outing. But the neck has not responded in time, meaning his first stint on the DL will last a little longer.

Madson to see hand specialist
Right-hander Ryan Madson has left the team to receive analysis on his sprained right index finger from a hand specialist in Arizona.

Team doctors and trainers have been trying to figure out exactly what is wrong with Madson's finger, which he has described as having "a cramp feeling" in his finger. The Nats have said nothing is torn in the finger, but manager Dusty Baker said he has never had a pitcher deal with a comparable injury.

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

Washington Nationals, Max Scherzer