A’s closer Sean Doolittle resumed throwing Tuesday for the first time since being placed on the disabled list with a strained intercostal muscle on August 24.
Joe Stiglich of CSNBayArea.com reports that Doolittle played catch from 90 feet and had no issues, but “there’s no timetable yet for his next step.”
Doolittle is eligible to come off the disabled list Monday and obviously the free-falling A’s would love to get him back as soon as possible, but it’s not realistic until the left-hander is at least throwing off a mound.
Prior to the injury Doolittle was having an incredible season, posting a 2.28 ERA in 54 appearances with an historic 80/5 K/BB ratio in 55 innings.
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.