Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer broke his nose, the team announced Tuesday, but a CT scan revealed no further damage. Scherzer was taken off-site to undergo tests after he was hit in the face by a ball that came off his bat while he was bunting during batting practice before the team’s scheduled game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Nationals Park.
Following a two-hour rain delay, the game was postponed for the second straight night and will be made up as part of a day-night doubleheader Sept. 24. The teams were already set for a split doubleheader Wednesday after Monday’s game was wiped out by rain.
It is uncertain if Scherzer will make his scheduled start Wednesday.
Scherzer’s face was bloodied as he headed toward the dugout following the incident. He was soon spotted walking through the clubhouse, in the direction of the trainer’s room, with a towel pressed against his face.
Washington’s rotation was already up in the air for the rest of this rain-shortened series and is now even less clear following a second consecutive postponement.
Patrick Corbin, originally scheduled to start Monday, then set to start Tuesday, is now slated to pitch Wednesday in the first game of the doubleheader. The Nationals’ starter for the second game remained to be determined as of Tuesday night. Stephen Strasburg had been scheduled to face the Phillies on Thursday, in what is now the finale of a three-game series, but even that can’t be considered a certainty with all that has gone on. Scherzer could pitch as soon as Wednesday if team doctors deem it safe. The Nationals could also go with Erick Fedde or 26-year-old right-hander Austin Voth.
Voth, who is 3-5 with a 4.40 ERA in 12 starts for Class AAA Fresno this season, was traveling to Washington on Tuesday night, according to a person with knowledge of the situation, but he doesn’t necessarily have to start Wednesday. Because of the doubleheader, the Nationals don’t need to option a player to make room for Voth on the 25-man roster. And since he will be here for the games either way, he could be used as an extra arm if the Nationals decide to go with Corbin, Fedde or Scherzer (health permitting). Voth’s strikeout rate has risen considerably. He would have almost certainly started if Scherzer was able to pitch Wednesday and Corbin had appeared Tuesday. The weather and Scherzer’s broken nose are complicating factors.
Washington did get some good news on the injury front before Tuesday’s postponement. Ryan Zimmerman, who is still recovering from plantar fasciitis in his right foot, ran the bases and is expected to do so again Wednesday. This is his last step before the Nationals can schedule a rehab assignment, which could come soon barring a setback. Zimmerman went on the injured list April 28 and has called this recovery one of the more frustrating processes of his career.
“That’s it; he’s done everything,” Manager Dave Martinez said when asked whether running the bases is Zimmerman’s final hurdle. “And he looks good. He ran straight. Had him run uphill, because I guess that’s a huge thing for your plantar fasciitis, and he did that and was okay.”