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Scherzer looks more like Max in latest sim game

MLB.com

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Nationals ace Max Scherzer, who has been slowed this spring by a stress fracture in his right ring finger, took another step forward on Sunday when he pitched two innings in a simulated game on a back field at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.

The reigning National League Cy Young Award winner threw about 30 pitches and seemed satisfied with the outing, which was his second against live hitters this week. He also threw 44 pitches in batting practice on Tuesday, but he appeared a little fatigued after resting between innings. However, Nationals manager Dusty Baker liked what he saw of Scherzer prior to Sunday's Grapefruit League game against the Astros.

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Nationals ace Max Scherzer, who has been slowed this spring by a stress fracture in his right ring finger, took another step forward on Sunday when he pitched two innings in a simulated game on a back field at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.

The reigning National League Cy Young Award winner threw about 30 pitches and seemed satisfied with the outing, which was his second against live hitters this week. He also threw 44 pitches in batting practice on Tuesday, but he appeared a little fatigued after resting between innings. However, Nationals manager Dusty Baker liked what he saw of Scherzer prior to Sunday's Grapefruit League game against the Astros.

"He looked pretty sharp," Baker said. "I didn't get a velocity on him. I didn't have a chance to talk to him after he threw, but he looked pretty good."

Added pitching coach Mike Maddux: "I thought Max looked really good. Threw all four pitches for strikes, had velocity and finish on the ball, no hold back. Liked everything we saw."

Video: BOS@WSH: Scherzer throws live batting practice

Scherzer was pacing around the dugout area between innings, something that Baker said indicates he's getting closer to being his typical self.

"That's him. He was just being Max," Baker said. "I'm big on body language. Body language tells you how a guy feels."

Maddux said the plan is to have Scherzer pitch again, possibly in a Minor League game, in four days.

"He was thrifty with his pitches, so we'll be able to safely bring him back in four days, no bullpen in between," Maddux said.

Added Baker: "We're not in a big hurry. Ideally, we just want him to feel ready. He's a little bit behind, but not as far behind as he looked like he was going to be in the beginning. He's back on pace, I think. I don't know how pleased he was [Sunday], but I know he didn't seem disappointed, which is equally as important. The main thing, we just want him feeling good. If he feels good, Max is going to be Max. The main think is for Max to feel like he's making progress, which we feel he is."

Steve Dorsey is a contributor to MLB.com.

Washington Nationals, Max Scherzer