Max Scherzer missed his scheduled Tuesday start because of a sprained thumb, but the Nationals insisted it was a minor injury and sure enough the former Cy Young winner may be been cleared to start Friday against the Mets.
Scherzer threw a problem-free bullpen session Tuesday while call-up A.J. Cole was taking his turn in the rotation, telling Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post that he’s “good to go.”
Gio Gonzalez was scheduled to start Friday, but the Nationals may decide to push Gonzalez and Doug Fister back one day apiece in order to get the $210 million free agent pickup on the mound again.
Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Nick Pivetta will rejoin the Phillies’ rotation, starting Tuesday’s series opener at home against the Cardinals. Vince Velasquez will remain in the bullpen.
Pivetta, 26, allowed 17 earned runs on 31 hits and eight walks with 16 strikeouts in 18 1/3 innings across his first four starts of the season. The performance resulted in a demotion to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. In six starts there, Pivetta had a much better 3.41 ERA with a 50/20 K/BB ratio in 37 innings of work.
Velasquez, 26, was solid as a starter, posting a 3.99 ERA across six starts. However, he averaged under five innings and 92 pitches per start. The right-hander tossed two scoreless innings out of the bullpen on Friday against the Brewers but was torched for four runs in two-thirds of an inning on Sunday. Mixed results, to say the least. The Phillies are trying to do what they can with their bullpen, currently missing David Robertson, Tommy Hunter, Pat Neshek, and Vìctor Arano.