New York Mets pitcher Max Scherzer looks on from the...

New York Mets pitcher Max Scherzer looks on from the dugout during an MLB baseball game between the New York Mets and the Milwaukee Brewers at Citi Field on Tuesday, June 14, 2022. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

On Max Scherzer’s path back to the Mets, which includes a new best-case scenario of a return in just two weeks, his first victims will be his own teammates.

He is scheduled to pitch a simulated game on Thursday against a handful of Mets hitters, he said. If that goes smoothly he would progress to a minor-league rehabilitation assignment, probably in the middle of next week, and his hope is that will last just one game. Then would come an activation from the injured list around the start of the Mets’ next homestand; think that Astros series on June 28-29 — only, again, if there aren’t any hiccups between now and then.

That would be about six weeks since he got hurt. The Mets initially gave a timeline of six to eight weeks.

But, as Scherzer cautioned repeatedly Tuesday in his first public comments since going on the IL, injuries like his strained left oblique can be tricky. Caution remains the theme of his rehab.

“Half the battle is getting back to 90%. And then the second half of this battle is from 90% to 100%,” Scherzer said. “With the trainers here, we’ve done a great job of getting back to 90%. But I’m still in the fight gear to get back to 100%. We’ve done good work to get to this point. But I’ve still got a lot in front of me.

“You can feel good, go out there and not feel any symptoms whatsoever and you can overdo it, overload the muscle and then you can have a setback. I can see very easily how you can have a setback. That’s the first and foremost thing on my mind. I really do not want to have a setback any which way. So you’ve gotta be very incremental on how you increase the load onto the oblique.”

Then he offered a footwear metaphor.

 

“The other way I kind of describe this right now is I’m breaking in a new shoe,” said Scherzer, who was injured May 18 while pitching against the Cardinals. “It doesn’t feel good when you’re breaking in a new shoe, but you gotta do it. That’s kind of how it is right now. I’m breaking through the scar tissue here, getting back into throwing and throwing bullpens and everything. As you stress it, you’re going to feel different things on it. You don’t want it to spiral out of control and have a setback.”

Scherzer also revealed that last month, shortly after getting hurt, he received a shot of platelet-rich plasma. That is when a person is injected with a portion of his own blood to promote the body’s natural regeneration/healing ability, according to the Hospital for Special Surgery, the Mets’ go-to medical center. It is an increasingly common way to treat soft-tissue issues.

“The PRP shot, if it works for you, it can really work,” he said. “I really feel like it worked for me and got me back to 90% and the first half of this really fast. I was back out there at 90% really quick. It's the last 10% here that’s the danger.”

Tuesday was Scherzer’s first day back with the Mets in New York after working out of their Port St. Lucie, Florida, facility for several weeks, which was an unusual experience for him.

“This is the first time I've had a substantial injury midseason where I've had to rehab away from the team,” he said. “This is foreign to me. It's weird for me going back home and being back home [in Florida]. Being back in New York and getting around the team puts a smile on everyone's face.

“Guys are playing well. It's bittersweet. I hate watching them on TV and would rather be out there with them. It is what it is. I've got to listen to Keith Hernandez a little bit more.”