WASHINGTON — New York Mets right-hander Max Scherzer is expected to start Sunday or Monday against the Washington Nationals after throwing a bullpen session Friday.
Scherzer, who was scratched from his start Tuesday against Cincinnati because of neck spasms, threw about 30 pitches before the opener of a four-game series against one of his former teams.
“That was encouraging,” manager Buck Showalter said. “The earliest he would pitch is Sunday. We’ll see how he feels tomorrow. He had a pretty extensive work day, which is something he hasn’t been able to do. I could just tell by his face he’s upbeat about it.”
The three-time Cy Young Award winner has pitched only once since a 10-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s prohibition on sticky substances during an April 19 game against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Scherzer yielded six runs in 3⅓ innings against Detroit on May 3 and is 2-2 with a 5.56 ERA in five starts.
Scherzer said he has experienced neck spasms throughout his career and has regularly done neck exercises as a preventative measure.
The 38-year-old also had a start pushed back last month because of back soreness, and Scherzer has not made consecutive scheduled starts since April 4-10.
“Having the neck flare up a little bit gave some more time for the back,” Scherzer said. “Hopefully, I can hopefully get through everything, get out there and get pitching and get in the swing of things.”