Update: An MRI on Scherzer’s side revealed a significant oblique strain. It was described as “moderate to high grade,” which is a grade 2-3 injury, according to our algorithm. Don’t be surprised if he ends up being sidelined until August. The muscle will need at least 4-6 weeks to heal, then additional time is needed to resume throwing.
Max Scherzer left his start early on Wednesday after 86 pitches due to an injury. He had recorded two outs in the sixth when he gestured to the dugout that he was done after delivering a pitch. There didn’t appear to be anything different or off about his delivery or landing, but Scherzer clearly felt something.
As the training staff headed onto the field to meet him Scherzer appeared to point to his left side. It’s potentially good news that it may not be an arm injury, but if this is a core injury it could lead to a lengthy absence. A majority of pitchers who suffer a strain to one of these muscles misses a minimum of three weeks. That’s for a grade 1 (mild) strain. A grade 2 (moderate) strain will take 3-5 weeks to fully heal, then additional time is needed to ramp up a throwing program. Scherzer could be dealing with a back, oblique or abdominal strain. All of these core injuries are treated fairly similarly, and that means no throwing for awhile.
Expect Scherzer to be sent for an MRI on Thursday to determine what exactly is going on. Scherzer is a guy who is usually all about toughing it out, so it’s significant that he immediately felt the need to pull himself from the game.
Scherzer is off to a hot start this season, posting a 2.66 ERA to go along with 55 strikeouts, a .91 WHIP and a 4-1 record. The Mets are sitting comfortable atop the NL East, but losing another one of their starting pitchers to a lengthy absence would be a huge blow. DeGrom is still out and will likely miss at least another month as he recovers from a scapula stress fracture.
During the 2021 season Scherzer spent time on the IL with both groin and hamstring injuries. He also battled hamstring tightness last month, but it only led to a brief absence. Scherzer’s only recent core injury was an upper back strain in 2019 that landed him on the IL. This doesn’t appear to be related as I don’t believe this is a problem with the upper back.