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Back for Playoffs? Max Scherzer Takes Another Step in Injury Rehab

Texas Rangers starter Max Scherzer threw from a mound for the first time since suffering a shoulder injury that ended his regular season.

Technically, Texas Rangers starting pitcher Max Scherzer came come off the 15-day injured list on Thursday.

That isn’t happening, but the veteran right-hander continues to make progress from the strained teres major muscle (upper shoulder) that he suffered against the Toronto Blue Jays on Sept. 12.

Progress in Anaheim on Wednesday was a light bullpen session. This came two days after he told the Dallas Morning News that he was “close” to throwing off a mound.

Turns out he wasn’t kidding. He told the paper after his session that how his body bounces back from the session on Thursday is key to determining his next step. He’s also not setting a return date.

Texas Rangers starting pitcher Max Scherzer before a game in September, updated his progress since having back surgery on Dec. 15.

Max Scherzer doesn't want to put a timetable on his possible return from injury.

"If you think about the end game and start circling dates, you get emotional about getting ready," he said. "You end up competing with the injury. And that's the worst thing you can do. You don't aim for anything specific. The body tells you what you can and can't do. You show up every day and do your work."

The Rangers ruled Scherzer out for the regular season after he was diagnosed with the injury. But they didn’t rule him out for the postseason, though general manager Chris Young called it “unlikely.” The typical recovery time for this injury is 8-12 weeks.

The Rangers (89-69) have nearly clinched the American League West title, which would not only put the club in the postseason but likely come with a first-round bye.

That would give Scherzer a bit more time to get stronger and the Rangers a bit more time to make a decision about their postseason roster, as least for the AL Division Series, which doesn’t start until Oct. 7. That would still be less than a month since Scherzer suffered the injury.

Rangers manager Bruce Bochy was cautiously optimistic when he spoke to 105.3 The Fan earlier in the week.

"He’s thrown the ball, he’s letting it go pretty good,” Bochy said. “Now, when you pitch, it’s that last 5 or 10% that you’ve got to let go of the ball, that’s what you have to have so you can finish up your pitches.”

You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.

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