So, let me see if I understand this timeline:
- Max Scherzer suffered a stress fracture in his ring finger “late in 2016” but it wasn’t enough to force him to miss any starts down the stretch (he made 6 starts in September last year, winning 5 of them to lock up the NL Cy Young award, and only really pitched “badly” in one of them) nor either of his two starts in the playoffs (he gave up 4 in 6 innings, then pitched masterfully in the NLDS game 5, giving up just four hits in 6 complete before a lead-off homer and a quick yank on 99 pitches in the fateful game 7). Indeed, Scherzer said in the below press release that he pitched “pain free” all fall but only in the off-season did the discomfort set in.
- A couple weeks after he was named to the US WBC team, the injury was then given as the reason that he had to subsequently withdraw from the World Baseball Classic. This announcement was made on January 9th, and the press release noted that it was basically precautionary and that he would be ready for full participation in Spring Training.
- Five weeks later, at the start of spring training, we get word that Scherzer now may not be ready for opening day due to the injury.
- I then read today, February 26th, that Scherzer is throwing but with a “modified grip??”
Great; our Cy Young winning $210M pitcher has had a months-long non-healing fracture in his throwing hand that is now forcing him to throw with a modified grip. The team has had the entire off-season to resolve this situation, yet here we are in a crucial 2017 season where we literally traded all our pitching depth in the off-season … and our #1 starter sounds to me like he’s starting the year on the D/L.
Am I over-reacting here? Is anyone else reading these tea leaves and thinking to themselves, “oh it’ll be ok, we’ll see him opening day like always?” Because right now its looking like he’s on the D/L come April 1st, Strasburg is testing out his injured Flexor Mass Tendon on Opening Day, Roark will be slotting in at #2 after having his normal spring training interrupted by the WBC, to be followed by the erratic Gonzalez, the also-coming-off-an-arm-injury Joe Ross, and then the career 79 ERA+ A.J. Cole leading up the rear, he who just got shelled in his first spring training game.
Sounds like a winning formula to me.