Scherzer improving, not yet throwing
The good news for the Tigers on injured starter Max Scherzer was that he said his shoulder felt better on Friday than it did on Thursday.
“I do have more range than I did yesterday,” Scherzer said Friday afternoon from Target Field, “so it’s a step in the right direction.”
The bad news, or at least the non-news, for the Tigers is that it doesn’t make Scherzer’s return any clearer, either for the regular season or beyond. At this point, you could pretty much flip a coin on whether he’ll start Wednesday at Kansas City.
“If I had to handicap it, I’d say maybe 50-50 for Wednesday,” manager Jim Leyland said, “but I’m not counting on it.”
The deltoid soreness that scuttled any plans of starting him against the Twins Friday night, Scherzer said, “should subside fairly soon.” From there, however, there remains the process of getting his arm stretched out and pitching tested.
His final hurdle to pitching in a game will be a full bullpen session, in which he throws all of his pitches off a mound. Whether he can do that in the next three or four days is anything but clear.
“From a physical standpoint, I think I could be there,” Scherzer said, “but I have to be smart and not get caught up in that.”
Scherzer also said he can’t get caught up in the playoff race and try to push himself if he isn’t ready. Yet if the division title isn’t still in play, Scherzer probably isn’t going to be pitching Wednesday in Kansas City.
“If we’re in or out [of the postseason] by then, Scherzer will not pitch [Wednesday] under any circumstances,” Leyland said.
If Scherzer doesn’t start on Wednesday, Leyland said, Drew Smyly will get the assignment.