The New York Mets received some good news regarding one of their star aces, Max Scherzer, on Tuesday as the three-time Cy Young Award winner told reporters down in Port St. Lucie, FL that he’ll most likely start the team’s second game of the regular season on Friday against the Washington Nationals.
The 37-year-old right-hander had been dealing with a hamstring tightness that put the start of his regular season in question. The timing couldn’t have been worse as it came shortly after two-time Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom was shut down from throwing for at least four weeks due to a shoulder issue.
A best-case scenario would see deGrom returning to the mound in early June.
Scherzer had a discrete bullpen session early Tuesday morning and said he felt good afterward — nearing him near a full green light for his team debut later this week while maintaining the hope that he can be available for a full season.
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He signed a record-setting three-year, $130 million deal with the Mets this winter where he’ll make $43.3 million per season; originally creating the most imposing one-two punch in baseball alongside deGrom. Despite dealing with some fatigue last season after he was shipped from the Washington Nationals to the Los Angeles Dodgers, Scherzer still posted a 15-4 record to go with a 2.46 ERA and a league-best 0.864 WHIP.
The future Hall-of-Famer is an eight-time All-Star and has averaged 242 strikeouts per season over the last 10 years.
While Scherzer should be getting the ball on Friday, it still remains to be seen what the Mets will do for Opening Day on Thursday with deGrom unavailable. Manager Buck Showalter has maintained that he wants to keep the bottom half of the rotation — Chris Bassitt, Taijuan Walker, and Carlos Carrasco — to their current schedule, meaning Tylor Megill or a bullpen game could be in the cards.