Max Scherzer throws 4 2/3 innings in rehab start and rejoining Rangers could be next step

SEATTLE (AP) — Max Scherzer threw 4 2/3 innings in a rehab start for Triple-A Round Rock on Saturday night in what could be the final step before rejoining the Texas Rangers rotation.

Texas manager Bruce Bochy said before Saturday’s game in Seattle that if all went well in the outing the next stop for Scherzer likely would be back in the Rangers’ rotation.

Scherzer allowed four hits, three runs and struck out eight against Tacoma, the Triple-A affiliate of the Mariners. Scherzer gave up a home run to Jonatan Clase on the first pitch of the game, but finished the inning by striking out the side.

Scherzer threw 55 of 79 pitches for strikes. Bochy said the expectation was the three-time Cy Young Award winner would throw around 75 pitches with the hope it would be his last stint in the minors.

Scherzer made his second rehab start for Round Rock last Sunday and retired 12 of 14 batters. Scherzer threw 53 pitches and allowed one hit and walked one.

Scherzer’s first rehab start was 52 pitches for Round Rock on April 24, but the second start was pushed back because of right thumb soreness that team doctors later identified as a nerve issue that extended to his right triceps. He had back surgery in mid-December, and hasn’t pitched for the Rangers since the World Series.

Scherzer said he has been dealing with the thumb issue for more than a year.

The Rangers acquired Scherzer from the New York Mets in a deadline trade last July after the pitcher agreed to opt in on the final year of his contract for this season at $43.3 million. New York is paying $30.83 million of that to Texas in twice-monthly installments.

After the trade, Scherzer was 4-2 with a 3.20 ERA in eight starts for Texas, the last in the regular season on Sept. 12 before being sidelined by a muscle strain in his shoulder. He returned to make two starts in the American League Championship Series, then Game 3 of the World Series before exiting after three innings because of his back.

His 3,367 strikeouts are second among active pitchers — Justin Verlander has passed him with 48 this season for Houston to get to 3,390. Scherzer is also second to Verlander on the active lists with 214 wins and 448 starts.



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