Max Scherzer to make scheduled start day after breaking his nose

Chris Lingebach
June 19, 2019 - 4:46 pm

Nationals ace Max Scherzer will make his start as scheduled against the Phillies Wednesday, one day after breaking his nose in a freak bunting accident.

While taking batting practice Tuesday afternoon, Scherzer, who was working on his bunting, was struck in the face by an errant pitch that flung off the side of his bat and shot straight back into his face.

Scherzer was taken off-site for an examination as well as a CAT scan, which came back negative.

Nats GM Mike Rizzo spoke more on Scherzer's injury during his weekly appearance with The Sports Junkies Wednesday morning, which is presented by Burke & Herbert Bank

"He's scheduled to pitch tonight," Rizzo said. "I saw him at the end of the night yesterday. He had a bandage and a splint on his nose. It was broken. It was set. I think he's breathing fairly normal.

Rizzo confirmed the Nats would reassess the injury once Scherzer arrived at the park, but believed the ace would do everything in his power to make his scheduled start.

"You know how it is if you have a broken nose," Rizzo said. "Sometimes you swell up in your eye area and your eye region quite a bit, and we'll see if that curtails his ability to start or not."

"Knowing Max, he's gonna give every effort to go out there and pitch tonight," he added. "It's his day. He's, like I said, a creature of habit. He likes to stay on rotation. We'll see when he arrives today if he's capable of pitching tonight. If not, it shouldn't be too much in the distant future where he gets on the mound."

Scherzer will start the second game of a doubleheader, as the Nationals (34-38) look to gain two games on the Phillies (39-33) after winning the first game 6-2 Wednesday afternoon.

Philly sits three games behind Atlanta (43-31) for second place in the NL East. The Nats are within five games of the Phillies after winning game one of the doubleheader.

Regarding the incident itself, Rizzo called it a "freak accident" while stressing "you can't bubble wrap these guys."

"First of all, Max considers himself, I consider him an athlete," he said. "He's actually a really good athlete, a good hitter, a good defender and a good fielder. Yeah, it was a freak accident. Those things happen."

"Our pitchers take a lot of batting practice," he said. "Max takes his batting practice on the field the day before he pitches. You know, he's a creature of habit and that's his routine. All of our pitchers take batting practice on the field quite often, and if they're not taking it on the field, they're taking it in the tunnel. So they hit a lot.

"It's part of the game that they play. The relievers not so much, but the starters do take routine batting practice. I just think that it's a big part of the game. A strategic sacrifice bunt when you need it helps your own cause as a pitcher, and the timely hit also helps every so often, too. I just think that you can't bubble wrap these guys. You've gotta let 'em roll and be athletes, and be competitors that they are. Sometimes these things happen."

Every week, all baseball season, if any Washington player hits for the cycle during a Wednesday game, one lucky fan wins a cool $100K. Click here to enter the Burke & Herbert "Bank On The Cycle" contest!