Max Scherzer’s wait to rejoin Mets will take a little longer with 2nd rehab start needed

Max Scherzer Mets
New York Mets starting pitcher Max Scherzer talks to teammates during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the St. Louis Cardinals Wednesday, May 18, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Friday saw the Mets throw cold water on the prospect of Max Scherzer making his return to the big leagues for Sunday’s series finale against the Miami Marlins, as David Peterson got the ball rather than the three-time Cy Young Award winner, who is continuing his path to full recovery from a strained left oblique suffered last month. 

Saturday provided a bit more clarity on what the next step for the 37-year-old right-hander will be, as he’ll start another rehab game for one of the Mets’ minor-league affiliates on Tuesday.

Scherzer threw a 50-pitch rehab start for the Double-A Binghamton Rumble Ponies last Tuesday in which he said that his side felt well — but the biggest challenge was to come in the coming days to ensure the area did not tighten up or cause any discomfort.

That’s exactly what happened. 

“I just hit a plateau in this,” Scherzer said (h/t Mike Puma, NY Post). “I am trying to pitch and do rehab at the same time, so coming out after that start, doing a core routine afterward, throwing a bullpen, doing a core routine, it was a lot and I got a little sore.”

Max Scherzer injury update Mets
Max Scherzer (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

After playing catch and going through normal core workouts to continue building up the oblique, Scherzer felt soreness that prompted the decision to make another rehab start, though he maintained that it is not a setback. 

“In order to be able to pitch in the big leagues Sunday, I was going to have to be perfect and there was going to be a lot of stipulations even for me pitching in a game,” he said. “So I couldn’t check that box. I need to repeat this process again, go through the turn again, and for me, I am focusing on the rehab right now and making sure it is strong and getting back.”

This was always going to be the last, sizable hurdle, which Scherzer alluded to two weeks ago when he said that — despite his rehab being 90% completed — the final 10% was still going to be an arduous challenge.

Such a methodical approach is a team practicing extreme caution on one of its most valuable pitching assets, though it’s a form of torture for the tenacious veteran who has never had an injury-list stint of this magnitude in his career.

“You have got to completely remove that from your calculus,” Scherzer said. “I cannot have a setback. I have got to come back healthy. I cannot have a setback. I understand that and will pitch when I am ready to pitch.”

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