WASHINGTON (AP) NL Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer revealed Monday that he pitched at the end of last season with an injured finger on his throwing hand and now will skip the World Baseball Classic.
The Washington Nationals initially announced Monday on Twitter that their star righthander has a stress fracture in the knuckle of his right ring finger, without offering any details of the problem. The team said the ongoing rehabilitation will keep Scherzer off the U.S. team at the WBC, which is in March, but he is still "expected to be a full participant" at spring training, which starts next month.
Later in the day, Scherzer posted his own statement on Twitter saying that he "experienced discomfort" in his right ring finger in late August and was told he had a sprained finger.
"Since I was pain free during my starts and my performance and velocity were unaffected," Scherzer wrote, "I continued to pitch."
And pitch well: From Aug. 20 through Oct. 2, a span that covered his last nine starts of the regular season for the NL East champion Nationals, Scherzer went 8–0 with a 2.97 ERA and 73 strikeouts in 60 2/3 innings. In the NL Division Series against the Dodgers, Washington lost both of Scherzer's starts, in Games 1 and 5.
He said Monday that during the season, he and the Nationals' medical staff figured rest would help resolve the issue with his finger.
But, Scherzer explained, the symptoms "had not dissipated" by last month, so he got a second MRI exam, which showed the stress fracture. He is currently undergoing treatment.
Scherzer went 20–7 with a 2.96 ERA and 284 strikeouts last season, including a record-tying 20 strikeouts in one game, becoming the sixth pitcher in major league history to win a Cy Young in both the NL and the AL (his came in 2013 for the Detroit Tigers).