The Mets pushed back Max Scherzer’s rehabilitation start a day, so he will pitch for Double-A Binghamton on Wednesday instead of Tuesday.
Manager Buck Showalter framed the development as one borne of caution as Scherzer navigates the first oblique injury of his career.
After he most recently pitched last Tuesday, he experienced more soreness than he wanted, Scherzer said previously, so the parties arranged for him to appear in another minor-league game instead of coming back to the majors. They penciled it in for a week later (instead of the usual five days), and this tweak will make it eight days between outings.
“He’s ready to go. He thinks he could pitch here tonight,” Showalter said. “So, hopefully it goes well. You look at the history of this injury and how long it normally lasts, he’s right where he needs to be.”
Scherzer declined to comment, saying he was in a bad mood and did not want to risk saying something he would regret. It was not clear if the unhappiness was related to his rehab.
Notably, this change should not impact the number of starts Scherzer makes prior to the All-Star break. He can make three either way (or two, if he needs yet another minors game). The soonest he would be back on a major-league mound would be Monday, when the Mets open a series against the Reds in Cincinnati.
But it wouldn’t surprise if the Mets opted for something other than the as-soon-as-possible possibility. Ever since he strained his left oblique on May 18, Scherzer and the team have been on the same page as far as preaching caution, given the tricky nature of this type of injury.
As Scherzer said over the weekend in Miami: “I cannot have a setback. I gotta come back healthy and I cannot have a setback. I cannot have a setback. I understand that. I will pitch when I’m ready to pitch.”
Showalter said he thought Scherzer “came around” on the Mets’ decision to delay him back, which was based largely on feedback from the righthander.
“Max will do whatever. For the most part,” Showalter said. “He’s physically trying to present himself back in this picture. You gotta be careful. This is an injury that if you go too fast, you’re right back where you were again. We’re going to take every precaution possible. I think Max understands that and appreciates it even though it can be frustrating for a guy who is as competitive as him.
”And so he will return to the Rumble Ponies, a day later than initially expected. He’ll pitch in Hartford, Connecticut, against the Rockies’ Double-A club. That is both understandable and frustrating to Scherzer.
“You put in all this work, you see the team playing great baseball, you want to be out there and competing and winning with them,” he said last week. “I want to be in the big leagues, not be a Rumble Pony.”
The Mets’ recent frequent days off — Thursday will be their third in eight days — means that have been able to finagle the rotation easily enough. The starting four lately: Chris Bassitt, David Peterson, Carlos Carrasco and Taijuan Walker. They won’t need a fifth until Tuesday.
Eventually, Scherzer will return with his 2.54 ERA and 0.95 WHIP will be back. Eventually.
“I’m looking forward,” Showalter said, “to talking about him after an outing.”