Max Scherzer’s tight hamstring won’t allow him to be the Mets’ Opening Day starter, but the plan is now to have him start the team’s second game of the regular season. The decorated right-hander was scratched from a scheduled intrasquad start on Saturday because of right hamstring tightness, and afterward he characterized himself as day-to-day.
As MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo writes, Scherzer tested that hamstring on Tuesday morning with a bullpen session and fared well. So long as he’s able to pass a fielding test on Thursday, Scherzer should be able to start Friday against the Nationals. The Mets open the season on Thursday in Washington.
Scherzer, whom the Mets signed to a two-year, $86.67 million deal earlier this offseason, had been considered for Opening Day only because ace Jacob deGrom is sidelined possibly until June or later with a stress reaction in his scapula.
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Scherzer, 37, is coming off a strong 2021 season in which he pitched to a 2.46 ERA and 6.56 K/BB ratio in 179 1/3 innings for the Nationals and Dodgers. For his efforts, the future Hall of Famer finished third in the NL Cy Young balloting. Scherzer previously won the AL Cy Young in 2013 with the Tigers and the NL award in 2016 and 2017 as a member of the Nationals.
Mets owner Steve Cohen spent big this offseason in an effort to position his Mets as serious contenders in the tough NL East. Already, though, health concerns at the front of the rotation have compromised the Mets’ hopes in 2022. Unlike deGrom’s injury, Scherzer’s does not appear to be serious.