Freddy Sanchez finally inching closer to return

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Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Freddy Sanchez will begin a minor-league rehab assignment “no later than Tuesday” of next week.
Sanchez has been playing extended spring training games in Arizona, but manager Bruce Bochy speculated that he’ll need about 30 at-bats on the rehab stint before potentially rejoining the Giants.
Acquired from the Pirates in the middle of last season, Sanchez has played just 25 games for the Giants because of shoulder and knee injuries. Despite missing time and posting a measly .619 OPS down the stretch last season the Giants inked him to a two-year, $12 million contract in late October.
In addition to the injuries Sanchez is 32 years old and hasn’t had an above-average OPS since 2007, so the contract is obviously looking like a mistake right now. Juan Uribe, Mark DeRosa, and Matt Downs have done very well filling in for Sanchez at second base, combining to hit .308 with an .859 OPS that ranks sixth among all MLB teams for the position.

Max Scherzer, with broken nose, strikes out 10 Phillies over seven shutout innings

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Nationals starter Max Scherzer bunted a ball into his face during batting practice on Tuesday, breaking his nose in the process. He ended up with a gnarly looking shiner around his right eye, making him appear a bit like Terminator. Scherzer still took the ball to start the second game of Wednesday night’s doubleheader against the Phillies.

Despite the injury, Scherzer was incredibly effective, limiting the Phillies to four hits and two walks across seven shutout innings, striking out 10 batters in the process. He might even have had some extra adrenaline going, as he averaged 96.2 MPH on his fastball, his highest average fastball velocity in a game since September 2012, per MLB.com’s Jamal Collier. The Nationals provided Scherzer with just one run of support, coming on a Brian Dozier solo home run off of Jake Arrieta in the second inning, but it was enough.

Wander Suero worked a scoreless top of the eighth with a pair of strikeouts. Victor Robles added a solo homer off of Pat Neshek in the bottom half. Closer Sean Doolittle took over in the ninth, working a 1-2-3 frame to give the Nats their 2-0 victory.

Over his last six starts, Scherzer now has a 0.88 ERA with a 59/8 K/BB ratio across 41 innings. He has gone six innings, struck out at least nine batters, and held the opposition to two or fewer runs in each of those six starts.