HOUSTON — Max Scherzer pitched 3 1/3 innings and threw 65 pitches in his rehabilitation outing for the Double-A Binghamton Rumble Ponies on Tuesday.
Working his way back from a strained left oblique, he allowed two runs and three hits (all for extra bases), walked one and struck out six against the Phillies’ Double-A affiliate.
Scherzer said he was “checking all the boxes” but he had to wait to see how his side felt in the coming days.
Might he return Sunday against the Marlins?
“If everything goes well, that’s a conversation I hope to have,” he told reporters in Binghamton in an interview released by the Mets. “I want to get back out there so bad. 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. I want to be in the big leagues, not be a Rumble Pony."
Manager Buck Showalter said before the game: “He’s close. Just trying to get some of that last little soreness that he feels the next day out of there . . . It’s more about Wednesday and Thursday, how he’s feeling afterwards, because Max will be very honest and frank with us."
The first run against Scherzer came courtesy of Vito Friscia, who socked an RBI double to leftfield in the third inning. Friscia was born in Bethpage and played at Valley Stream Central High and Hofstra. The Phillies picked him in the 40th round of the 2019 draft.
Scherzer’s last batter, Jhailyn Ortiz, crushed a homer to leftfield.
Among the reasons Scherzer played for Binghamton: James McCann, there on a rehab assignment (after surgery on his left wrist last month), served as his batterymate. McCann won’t return to the Mets until Friday at the earliest, Showalter said.
Jacob deGrom faced hitters Tuesday for the first time since spring training.
Out since then with a stress reaction in his right shoulder blade, deGrom took that significant step forward at the Mets’ facility in Port St. Lucie, Florida. He remains weeks away from returning.
“Everything went well with Jake today in his outing,” Showalter said.
Jeff McNeil remained day-to-day after getting an MRI on his right hamstring.
He felt it tighten up when he scored on a wild pitch Monday against the Marlins but seems to have avoided a major problem. Given his history of leg injuries — including a few strains of his left hamstring, not the right one — the Mets played it safe.
“Definitely caught it in time,” McNeil said. “The strength is still there, everything is still there. It was very precautionary to come out of the game and make sure it’s not a long-term thing.”
Showalter said: “I’ve talked to him three or four times during the course of the season, reminding him that if he feels anything along those lines [to speak up]. He got ahead of it. Felt it a little bit and we got him out of there. Hopefully that precaution will get him back here hopefully shortly.”
Luis Guillorme filled in at second base in the series opener against the Astros.
“Obviously, Luis has been outstanding for us,” Showalter said. “Initially it’s a pretty fluid move for us. I didn’t even have to say anything to Luis yesterday hardly, he knew what was going on. I think the guys understand that.”
No Mets led All-Star fan voting at their respective positions in the first balloting update, released Tuesday afternoon by MLB. But two — Pete Alonso and Starling Marte — were on pace to reach the second phase of voting. Also, McNeil and Francisco Lindor were in striking distance of doing so.
The second update will be released Monday. The first phase of voting runs through 2 p.m. June 30. The second phase will include finalists to determine the starter at each spot.
Travis Jankowski (broken left hand) was cleared to begin all baseball activities, Showalter said. He previously was doing what he could with just his right hand . . . Included on the Mets’ taxi squad this trip: infielder Gosuke Katoh and reliever Jake Reed. Katoh was designated for assignment last week but was sent outright to Triple-A Syracuse on Monday.