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Scherzer reclaims starting assignment in KC

KANSAS CITY -- About 20 minutes before the Tigers began their regular-season finale against the Royals on Wednesday night, right-hander Max Scherzer made the long walk out to the bullpen to begin his warmup tosses.

Luis Marte, meanwhile, began long-tossing in the outfield around the same time.

Only problem is they're on the same team.

It was the rare case of double-barrel warmups in the bullpen before a game, but it was on purpose. It wasn't about deception, but protection.

Scherzer had been scratched from the start on Tuesday with a right ankle he twisted during the Tigers' celebration on the field Monday night, when they clinched the American League Central title. By Wednesday afternoon, he felt well enough to give it a shot in an effort to get some innings before the postseason begins.

Just in case Scherzer couldn't go, though, manager Jim Leyland had Marte on standby. As it turned out, they didn't need him.

For Scherzer, it was his first outing since Sept. 23 against Minnesota. He had been scratched from his last start with soreness in his deltoid muscle, but hoped to stay on track to start the regular-season finale if needed. They didn't need him as much as he needed the start.