Good news Sunday out of Cardinals camp, via MLB.com beat reporter Jenifer Langosch …
JUPITER, Fla. — After ending Tuesday’s live batting practice early due to tightness in his right groin, Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal returned to the mound on Sunday and threw without issue during a 25-pitch bullpen session.
The injury was never considered serious, and relievers don’t typically need as much spring game action as starters and position players. Rosenthal has ample time to get himself prepared for the opening of the 2014 regular season.
“I was lucky that it wasn’t too [serious an injury] and that it was early,” the hard-throwing right-hander told reporters on Sunday in Cardinals camp. “I feel like I’m pretty close to being right on track.”
Rosenthal, 23, owns a stellar 2.66 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, and 12.2 K/9 in 98 major league innings.
He also has a 0.00 ERA, 0.54 WHIP, and 33 strikeouts in 20 1/3 postseason frames.
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.