Reds deem Jonathan Broxton ready to pitch … and close?

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Reds manager Bryan Price has already said that Jonathan Broxton would take over as Aroldis Chapman’s closer fill-in once healthy, so now that he’s off the disabled list it’ll be interesting to see if the big right-hander immediately jumps into ninth-inning duties.

Broxton has been sidelined since undergoing elbow surgery in August, but threw back-to-back scoreless innings on a minor-league rehab assignment at Double-A on Friday and Saturday to convince the Reds he’s ready.

Broxton has plenty of closing experience, including 27 saves as recently as 2012, but he was mediocre for the Reds before being shut down last season. He’ll try to hold the gig until Chapman is ready to return from facial fractures, which could happen as soon as late May.

Max Scherzer reaches 300 strikeouts on the season

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Nationals ace Max Scherzer struck out his 300th batter of the season on Tuesday night against the Marlins. Austin Dean was the victim, swinging and missing at a 3-2 curve for the second out in the seventh inning.

Scherzer’s 2018 is the seventh 300-strikeout season since 2000. The others: Chris Sale (308; 2017 Red Sox), Clayton Kershaw (301; 2015 Dodgers), Randy Johnson (334; 2002 Diamondbacks), Curt Schilling (316; 2002 Diamondbacks), Randy Johnson (372; 2001 Diamondbacks), Randy Johnson (347; 2000 Diamondbacks). It’s the 67th 300-strikeout season dating back to 1883.

At the conclusion of the seventh, Scherzer had held the Marlins to a run on four hits with no walks and 10 strikeouts. He entered the start 17-7 with a 2.57 ERA across 213 2/3 innings. Jacob deGrom will almost certainly win the NL Cy Young Award, but Scherzer’s 2018 has been outstanding.