Alex Gordon able to take 15 dry swings Tuesday

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Royals outfielder Alex Gordon is making steady progress in his recovery from January wrist surgery.

According to MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan, Gordon took about 15 non-contact swings with a fungo bat on Tuesday afternoon in Royals camp and reported no abnormal discomfort. Gordon also played catch for the first time Monday and that workout went well.

The 31-year-old underwent an extensor retinaculum repair on his right wrist around the beginning of the new year, but he fully expects to be ready for the beginning of the 2015 season: “No question,” Gordon said Tuesday. “Not even a doubt in my mind.”

Gordon batted .266/.351/.432 with 19 home runs and 74 RBI in 156 games last season for the American League-champion Royals. The left fielder also won his fourth consecutive Gold Glove Award.

Nationals to reinstate Max Scherzer on Thursday

Max Scherzer
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Some good news for the Nationals today: All-Star hurler Max Scherzer is due back from the injured list this week, this time (hopefully) for good. He’s slated to start during Thursday’s series finale against the Pirates.

It’s been a long road back for the right-hander, who earned his seventh consecutive All-Star designation after heading into the break with a 2.30 ERA, 5.6 fWAR, and a league-leading 7.56 SO/BB rate. An untimely back injury forced him to the injured list in the days leading up to the All-Star Game, however, and he hasn’t returned in any kind of part-time or full-time capacity since.

While Scherzer was originally expected to pitch for the Nationals sometime during their weekend series versus the Brewers, manager Dave Martinez elected to push back his return date by a few days. It’s not clear whether he felt some lingering pain during his 64-pitch simulated start on Saturday or whether the Nationals simply want to play it safe with their ace, but either way, the club apparently feels like Scherzer will be back to full strength before the end of the week.

If so, his return would be a significant asset to the Nationals, who could use a sub-3.00 ERA, 5.0-fWAR starter to help bolster their standing in the NL East. Still, there’s no guarantee that the veteran righty is ready to shoulder a full-time role in Washington’s rotation, nor is it certain that he’ll be able to match his results from the first half of the season. In one start between IL stints last month, he dealt five innings of three-run, two-walk, eight-strikeout ball in an 8-7 loss to the Rockies.