Mike Zunino exited last night’s game after taking a foul ball off his left hand and the Mariners catcher has been diagnosed with a fractured hamate bone.
Ryan Divish of the Tacoma News Tribune reports that Zunino is expected to miss six weeks, meaning the rookie is no sure thing to play again this season.
Zunino was called up on June 12 despite hitting .238 with a horrible strikeout-to-walk ratio (albeit with lots of power) at Triple-A and the former No. 3 overall pick has predictably struggled in the majors, hitting .242 with two homers and a .659 OPS in 29 games while striking out 26 times compared to nine walks.
Seattle released Kelly Shoppach to make room for Zunino last month, leaving 41-year-old Henry Blanco atop their catching depth chart for the moment.
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.