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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.

Francisco Rodriguez is being sued by his former landlord

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John Wisely of the Detroit Free Press reports that current free agent reliever Francisco Rodriguez is being sued by his former landlord for damage to the rented property as well as missing artwork. The landlord is asking for $80,000 after having kept Rodriguez’s $15,000 security deposit.

The lawsuit says that Rodriguez damaged a bedroom TV, a crystal floor lamp, glass shelves in the bar, glass tiles in the master bath, and a Moroccan mirror in the powder room. Additionally, the suit claims that the bedding is stained and paint has chipped, as well as other damages. And the piece of art that is allegedly missing, which depicts a tiger, is valued at more than $10,000.

Rodriguez has not yet been served with the suit, but the landlord has been speaking to his managers.

The Nationals released Rodriguez, 35, two weeks ago after having signed him to a minor league contract in late June. He started the season with the Tigers, but struggled to a 7.82 ERA over 25 1/3 innings before being released.

Report: Rays acquire Lucas Duda from the Mets

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MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports that the Rays have acquired first baseman Lucas Duda from the Mets. The Mets will receive pitching prospect Drew Smith in return, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.

Duda, 31, is batting .246/.347/.532 with 17 home runs and 37 RBI in 291 plate appearances for the Mets this season. He’ll provide a potent bat in the Rays’ lineup as they attempt to overcome their current 2.5-game deficit in the AL East.

Smith, 23, is the Rays’ No. 30 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. He ascended from High-A to Triple-A already this season, posting an aggregate 1.60 ERA with a 40/9 K/BB ratio over 45 innings across four stops with High-A Lakeland (Tigers), High-A Charlotte (Rays), Double-A Montgomery, and Triple-A Durham.