Madison Bumgarner’s comments Monday, in which the Giants ace took Max Scherzer to task for appearing to advocate the National League adopting the designated hitter rule, clearly stung the Nationals pitcher. On Tuesday, Scherzer took to Twitter to claim that his “in-jest” comments, as reported by Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, were “taken out of context” in order to fit “a story with a specific agenda.”

CBS Sports published a story Sunday titled, “In Wainwright wake, Nats’ Scherzer advocates for DH in both leagues.” In it, Heyman recounts a conversation with Scherzer based on the season-ending injury Adam Wainwright had suffered on Saturday, which occurred while the Cardinals ace was batting.

Heyman’s story included the following quotes from Scherzer:

“I wouldn’t be opposed [to the NL adopting the DH].”
“If you look at it from the macro side, who’d people rather see hit — Big Papi or me? Who would people rather see, a real hitter hitting home runs or a pitcher swinging a wet newspaper? Both leagues need to be on the same set of rules.” …
“If you look at it long-term, I think eventually, there will be a DH in the National League.” …
“Those kids don’t want to see me hit. No one want to see a pitcher hit. No one pays money for that.”

Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News subsequently asked Bumgarner about Scherzer’s comments. The Giants star, who hit four home runs last season, including two grand slams, didn’t mince his words:

“He knew the rules. Whatever much he signed for – what did he get, again? – he didn’t have a problem signing his name. He didn’t have a problem with hitting then. I’m sure he had his pick of anywhere he wanted to go.” …
“What if [Wainwright] got hurt pitching? Should we say we can’t pitch anymore? I hate what happened to him. He works his butt off out there. But I don’t think it was because he was hitting. What if he gets hurt getting out of his truck? You tell him not to drive anymore?”

That had Scherzer tweeting out a lengthy set of comments Tuesday, in order to “set the record straight”:

“In a recent article written by Jon Heyman, there were comments taken out of context that I would like to clarify. First and foremost I value what my colleagues and fellow players think of me and it appears my casual and in-jest comments were not portrayed properly. I was having a casual conversation with Jon discussing Adam Wainwright’s injury and the subject of the DH and pitchers hitting came up. John [sic] asked me if the National League had the DH would it have made a difference in regards to Adam’s injury and I responded ‘no’ as I believed it to be a freak injury and had nothing to do with him actually hitting.
“John [sic] then asked me how I liked hitting in the NL since I made the switch over from the AL and I told John [sic] that I love to hit and enjoyed all of it (bunting, hitting, running the bases, etc.) to help our team any way to win a game. He asked if the NL should have the DL [sic] just like the AL and my response was simply an opinion that I thought at some point it would be good for both leagues to have the same rules.
“As for my comment about who would people rather see hit and me swinging a wet newspaper, anyone who knows me knows I am an outgoing, fun and jokester kind of a guy. I was making an attempt to be funny with those comments and nothing more. And therein lies the problem … I respect their need for the media to do their job however in some instances what they write portrays a player in a negative light and only provides one particular argument or side.
“I did not seek out to be the spokesman for the NL adopting the DL [sic]. As all of my fellow players can relate to, this is simply a case of a reporter taking a casual comment and turning it into a story with a specific agenda, therefore it was important for me to set the record straight and let the full context of the conversation be heard.”

Several hours before Scherzer’s tweet, Heyman had also issued a clarification on Twitter:

As Scherzer wrote, he values what his “fellow players think of” him, and he is obviously bothered by the perception that he would rather not have to bat. And that is fair, but it is also true that Heyman’s article points out in multiple places that Scherzer “loves preparing and competing as a hitter.”

Perhaps the biggest problem is the headline of the article — which Heyman might not have written himself — that proclaims Scherzer to be an “advocate” for the NL adopting the DH, when the pitcher’s full position on the subject is more nuanced. It would be a shame if, going forward, this episode caused the candid and affable Scherzer to limit his interactions with reporters.

Somewhat ironically, in other Scherzer news Tuesday, he was able to complete a bullpen session and is back on track to make a start, possibly on Friday. The $210 million pitcher had been unable to throw since his previous start on Thursday, when he injured his thumb while, yes, batting.