Max Scherzer aiming to pitch on Friday
Scherzer hopes to make his Mets debut against the Nationals in the second game of the season
Max Scherzer’s hamstring has passed it’s first major test.
Scherzer - who reported tightness in his hamstring late last week - threw a bullpen session in Port St. Lucie this morning and told reporters he now expects to pitch the second game of the season against the Nationals on Friday.
Scherzer still has one more test to pass, however.
Scherzer said he will need to go through fielding drills on Thursday in Washington in order to be 100 percent sure he can pitch Friday night, although he remained confident he will get the ball against his former club on Friday night.
No matter what, this leaves an open question as to how the Mets intend to handle the pitching duties on opening day, as the Mets have shown no intention to alter the rotation and bump a stretched out starter up. That stands to reason as other than Scherzer, no starting pitcher on the staff is expected to throw more than five innings through the first turn in the rotation anyway, offering little to no incentive to make any drastic changes to accomodate one game.
The expanded rosters for the first month of the season gives the Mets flexibility to carry additional pitchers out of the gate. Mets manager Buck Showalter has hinted the Mets could opt for a bullpen game on Thursday, with RHP Tylor Megill appearing as the likely candidate to start against the Nationals. They could choose to piggyback Megill with Trevor Williams, who threw 63 pitches on Sunday over three innings against the Marlins at Clover Park. Should the Mets employ such a formula to success, they could bridge the game to their primary relievers successfully.
Of course, the best laid plans often go awry, which could mean the Mets over-extend their bullpen on Thursday anyway. With only two off-days on the schedule between Opening Day and May 8 and a doubleheader in between, the Mets will need to be cautious and diligent with their pitching staff over the first month of the season, even with the expanded rosters at their disposal.
Brandon Nimmo (neck stiffness) received an injection in his neck, according to Showalter. He still hopes to be available on Opening Day.
Nimmo missed three months during the 2019 season with a buldging disc in his cervical spine.