Saying his finger feels normal, Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer proclaimed himself healed following his first exhibition start this year, a 6-1 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday.
''It's behind me now,'' Scherzer said.
A stress fracture in the knuckle of the ring finger on his pitching hand slowed Scherzer and caused him to grip his fastball with the middle three fingers instead of the usual index and middle fingers. He threw exclusively two-finger fastballs against St. Louis, allowing two runs and five hits in 4 2/3 innings. He threw 49 of 73 pitches for strikes and reached 95 mph.
''I'm basically on pace to start the regular season on time,'' Scherzer said. ''I really shouldn't miss a turn in the rotation. Considering where I was at coming into spring training, to not have to go to the DL, that's a huge feat.''
The 32-year-old Scherzer will make two more starts before the season begins, but the NL Cy Young Award winner won't start the April 3 opener against Miami
''Right now we've kind of got Max slated as the No. 3 starter,'' manager Dusty Baker said. ''He's No. 3 because that's how his turn worked out with giving him more time.''
BARRY IS BACK
Barry Bonds donned a Giants uniform for his first day of work in his new role with San Francisco, a hitting instructor and special adviser to CEO Larry Baer.
The job began Wednesday with a week in Arizona working with major league hitting coach Hensley Meulens and the minor leaguers at spring training. Then Bonds will represent the team at community and club events.
''Any role that they want, that's what I'll do,'' Bonds said. ''All I've ever wanted to be is a Giant.''
Bonds spent last season as Miami's hitting coach before being fired, and thanked the Marlins for the opportunity.
The 52-year-old, a seven-time MVP, is the career home run leader with 762. He was convicted for obstruction of justice for evasive testimony to a grand jury investigating steroids in sports, but the conviction was overturned in 2015 by an appeals court, and he was Miami's hitting coach last year.
Minnesota Twins right-hander Trevor May has undergone Tommy John elbow surgery that will keep him off the mound this season.
The Twins announced on Wednesday that the replacement of May's torn ulnar collateral ligament was successful. The 27-year-old was transitioning back to starting, following a move to the bullpen halfway through the 2015 season.
May was placed on the 60-day disabled list, making room for the Twins to add left-hander Craig Breslow to the 40-man roster. The 36-year-old Breslow is among the finalists for a middle relief role.
CARDINALS PICK MARTINEZ
Carlos Martinez and not Adam Wainwright will start the St. Louis Cardinals' April 2 opener against the World Series champion Chicago Cubs.
''I felt honored and, honestly, when he had this conversation with me I couldn't believe it,'' Martinez said through a translator. ''I thought he was talking about the exhibition games in Springfield or Memphis. Just to be able to have this position and to be able to represent the Cardinals and be No. 1 and be the ace is so important to me.''
Wainwright had started the past four openers for the Cardinals.
YANKEES 7, PHILLIES 3
Greg Bird homered twice and had five RBIs for New York. Bird, who missed all of 2016 with a shoulder injury, was tabbed before the game as the Yankees' opening day first baseman by manager Joe Girardi.
Masahiro Tanaka pitched 5 1/3 scoreless innings for New York. Cesar Hernandez finished with two hits, including a double, for the Phillies.
CARDINALS 6, NATIONALS 1
Martinez has yet to allow a run in exhibition play this year. Jayson Werth had an RBI single for Washington.
ASTROS 8 TWINS 4
George Springer homered and doubled, and Jose Altuve added an RBI single.
Dallas Keuchel allowed two runs in five innings, the first runs he allowed in three starts.
Minnesota's Phil Hughes gave up six runs - five earned - and nine hits in two innings.
BLUE JAYS 5, TIGERS 4
Marco Estrada struck out five, allowing one run and two hits I five innings. Shane Optiz hit a game-ending, three-run homer off Angel Nesbit with two outs in the ninth.
Daniel Norris gave up two runs and four hits in five innings, striking out five.
MARLINS 15, METS 9
Tyler Moore hit a solo homer off Zack Wheeler in the eighth and a three-run driver against Fernando Salas in the ninth. Marlins starter Scott Copeland gave up six runs and six hits in two innings.
New York starter Steven Matz gave up five runs and eight hits in four innings.
GIANTS 6, BREWERS 4
San Francisco starter Matt Cain, bidding for a rotation spot, allowed four runs and seven hits in five innings, leaving him with an 8.10 ERA.
Denard Span homered, and Hunter Pence and Tim Federowicz added RBI doubles for San Francisco.
Ryan Braun had an RBI double for Milwaukee, and Jesus Aguilar homered.
RANGERS 7, ANGELS (ss) 4
Mike Trout hit his first home run of spring training.
Angels starter Alex Meyer allowed four runs, five hits and three walks in 2 1/3 inning. Cam Bedrosian, son of former Cy Young winner Steve Bedrosian, struck out two in a perfect inning.
Allen Webster gave up three runs, three hits and four walks in three innings. Delino DeShields walked twice and stole two bases.
ANGELS (ss) 9, MARINERS 8
Yusmeiro Petit struck out four in 3 2/3 scoreless innings, lowering his ERA to 0.84. Ben Revere homered and stole a base.
Cody Martin gave up six runs, seven hits and three walks in 2 2/3 innings, and Jean Segura hit a two-run homer.
ROYALS 6, PADRES 2
Mike Moustakas hit his fourth homer, and Brandon Moss had an RBI double for Kansas City. Nathan Karns, acquired from Seattle for Jarrod Dyson, struck out nine and walked none in six scoreless innings, allowing four hits.
Corey Spangenberg had two doubles and an RBI for the Padres. Jered Weaver, looking to re-ignite his career in San Diego, allowed four runs and three hits in two-thirds of an inning.
ATHLETICS 5, WHITE SOX 3
Stephen Vogt hit a two-run double and Matt Joyce a two-run single for Oakland.
Melky Cabrera had a two-RBI double for Chicago. Yolmer Sanchez hit a solo home run.
ROCKIES 10, INDIANS 2
Danny Salazar allowed seven runs and eight hits in five innings, and Boone Logan gave up three runs and three hits in one inning.
Colorado's Kyle Freeland gave up one run and four hits in five innings with five strikeouts, Charlie Blackmon homered and DJ LeMahieu tripled.
ORIOLES 7, RAYS 4
Tampa Bay starter Chris Archer had a difficult outing in his first post-WBC start, allowing four runs, three earned, in 5 2/3 innings. He had six strikeouts, but gave up a two-run homer to Chris Johnson in the fourth.
Baltimore catching prospect Chance Sisco hit a three-run homer in the eighth.
Chris Lee made his second start for the O's and gave up two runs and five hits in two innings. Colby Rasmus drove in one of the runs and later added a two-run homer for his first RBIs of the spring.
REDS 5, CUBS 2 (5)
Adam Duvall had a two-run homer and Hernan Iribarren added a two-run double in the Reds' five-run fourth. Ryan Williams gave up the homer and was responsible for all the runs.
Kyle Schwarber led off the game with a bunt single and added a two-run homer in the fifth off Scott Feldman before rain cut the game short in the bottom of the fifth.