Max Scherzer can see the finish line that is 100% recovering from a strained left oblique suffered last month, but it’s still quite a bit of distance to cover.
“The way to describe this injury, the rehab that is, half the battle is getting back to 90% and then the second half of the battle is getting from 90% to 100%,” Scherzer said on Tuesday afternoon prior to the Mets’ series opener against the Milwaukee Brewers. “With the trainers here, we’ve done a great job of getting back to 90%, but I’m still fighting to try and get back to 100%.
“We’ve done good work to get to this point but I still have a lot in front of me. “
The Mets ace threw at Citi Field just hours earlier on Tuesday afternoon and revealed that he will throw a simulated game on Thursday. That still doesn’t provide much clarity on when he can return given the tricky nature of oblique injuries.
“It’s hard to nail down a date because anything can happen with these things,” he said. “I’ve talked to a lot of people, a lot of guys across the league who’ve had these, both good and bad responses. Just trying to understand what it’s like moving forward and having to trust the oblique when I go back out there.”
The three-time Cy Young Award winner added that he’s hoping to make just one rehab start before returning to the team — likely in late June or early July — but said it could be more depending on how his side reacts to the increased workload.
“You can feel good, go out there and not feel any symptoms whatsoever, and you can overdo it at that point — overload the muscle and you can have a setback,” Scherzer said. “I can see very easily how you can have a setback. That’s the first and foremost thing on my mind. I really do not want to have a setback…
“You just gradually have to keep increasing your workouts. You have to be very cognizant of what you’re doing and be very aware of your body from the stress hits you. How does it respond? Understanding what’s going on, knowing what’s normal, and what’s not.”
This is the longest that Scherzer has been away from a team due to an injury in his 15-year MLB career, which just so happens to be his first season with the Mets after signing a record-setting three-year deal.
Rather than creating one of the most imposing pitching duos alongside two-time Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom, the two have spent a combined 13 weeks on the injured list.
Still, the Mets continue to churn out positive results, becoming the first team in the National League to win 40 games this season.
“It’s bittersweet. I hate watching them on TV. I’d rather be out there with them but it is what it is,” Scherzer said. “The way I describe it is breaking in a new shoe. It doesn’t feel good when you break in a new shoe but you have to do it…
“Breaking through the scar tissue here, getting back into throwing, throwing bullpens and everything. As you stress it, you’re going to feel different things and you don’t want to spiral out of control and have a setback.”