Miguel Montero
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Miguel Montero is “pretty much retired”

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Former Nationals catcher Miguel Montero has all but closed the book on his major-league career, according to comments given to Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. Montero said Saturday that he’s “pretty much retired,” in what feels like an inevitable decision after he was cut loose by Washington in mid-April 2018.

Montero, 35, was limited to just four games in 2018. He signed a minor league deal with the Nationals in February and broke camp with the big league squad, but went hitless in his first 13 plate appearances and eked out just two walks before getting designated for assignment. The rest of his 13 years in the majors tells a different story: the veteran catcher played nearly a full decade for the Diamondbacks, during which he turned in two All-Star performances, made two postseason runs in 2007 and 2011, logged the most games caught by any franchise backstop to date, and shaped the bulk of his lifetime .256/.340/.411 batting line, 126 home runs, and 15.5 fWAR. He also earned MVP consideration for his career-best season in 2012, batting a hefty .286/.391/.438 with 15 home runs, an .829 OPS, and 4.5 fWAR across 573 PA.

While the twilight years of Montero’s career yielded disappointing results, he contributed to two more playoff runs with the Cubs in 2015 and 2016 and finally earned his first and only championship ring. There’s no one knocking on his door now, however, and Piecoro adds that the former catcher already has a viable plan in place for the remainder of his professional career. Together with his brother-in-law, Carlos Murcia, Montero currently heads ZT Sports, the Scottsdale-based sports management agency that represents Giants outfielder Gorkys Hernandez and over a dozen minor league players and prospects. It’s a decision Montero can trace back to his time in Arizona, as he told Piecoro he played a pivotal role in negotiating the five-year, $60 million extension he netted in 2012 and was similarly inspired to advocate for others in the game.

Max Scherzer, with broken nose, strikes out 10 Phillies over seven shutout innings

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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.