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Max Scherzer says he’ll be ready for the start of the regular season

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Nationals ace Max Scherzer, dealing with a stress fracture in his right ring finger, told the media he will be ready for the start of the regular season, Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post reports. “I’m gonna do it,” Scherzer said.

Manager Dusty Baker said, “He’s a little bit behind but not as far behind as it looked like he was going to be at the beginning. He’s back on pace I think.”

Scherzer, 32, is the defending National League Cy Young Award winner. He went 20-7 with a 2.96 ERA and a 284/56 K/BB ratio in 228 1/3 innings last season, helping the Nationals return to the postseason.

Scherzer would be the Nationals’ Opening Day starter if he’s healthy. If he is not healthy enough, Stephen Strasburg would likely get the honor.

2017 Preview: The National League West

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League West.

The Giants had the best record in all of baseball at the All-Star Break and the Dodgers lost the best pitcher in the world in Clayton Kershaw for a big chunk of the season. Yet, somehow, L.A. won the NL West by four games. The biggest culprit was the Giants’ suspect bullpen, which they put some real money toward fixing this winter. Is it enough? Or is a a Dodgers team with a healthy Kershaw just too talented for San Francisco to handle?

Below them is an intriguing Rockies team, though probably not a truly good Rockies team. The Dbacks have a lot of assorted talent but are nonetheless in reshuffle mode following a miserable 2016 campaign. The Padres, meanwhile, are in full-fledged rebuilding mode, but do possess some of the best minor league talent in the game.

Here are our previews of the 2017 NL West:

Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants
Colorado Rockies
Arizona Diamondbacks
San Diego Padres

2017 Preview: The American League West

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League West

There’s not a lot of separation between the top three teams in this division. Indeed, it would not be a surprise for either the Astros, Rangers or Mariners to end the year on top. Part of that is because none of these contenders are perfect, with all three facing some big challenges in putting together a strong rotation.

Meanwhile, the best baseball player in the universe toils in Anaheim, where he’ll most likely have to content himself to playing spoiler. Up the coast in Oakland . . . um, green is pretty?

Our 2017 AL West Previews:

Houston Astros
Seattle Mariners
Texas Rangers
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Oakland Athletics