TORONTO (AP) — Texas right-hander Max Scherzer will miss the rest of the regular season, and likely wouldn’t be able to pitch in the playoffs if the Rangers make the postseason, because of a strained muscle in his shoulder.
Rangers general manager Chris Young said an MRI on Wednesday revealed a low-grade strain of the teres major muscle that won’t require surgery. That came a day after Scherzer departed his start at Toronto in the sixth inning.
“In some ways I was almost relieved that it’s not worse. It’s not surgery,” Scherzer said. “Talking with the doctors, I fully expect to make a full recovery.”
Young said team physician Dr. Keith Meister feels confident that the injury will fully heal with rest, and Scherzer said he needed a couple of weeks of not throwing. But there are only 2 1/2 weeks left in the regular season as the Rangers try to make the playoffs for the first time since 2016.
“Unfortunately, the timing of the schedule isn’t going to line up to where we can provide him rest, and he’ll still pitch again, certainly before the regular season,” said Young, who was then asked about the postseason. “I don’t want to rule it out at this point. We’ll see where the next two weeks go and how he’s feeling. That said, it’s probably unlikely.”
The Rangers recalled right-handed reliever Jonathan Hernández from Triple-A Round Rock. Young didn’t say how they will fill Scherzer’s spot in the rotation, other than it will be somebody already on the 28-man roster.
Scherzer, whose 3,367 career strikeouts are the most among active pitchers, will be re-evaluated in two weeks. He finished the season 13-6 with a 3.77 ERA in 27 starts for the Mets and Rangers, striking out 174 in 152 2/3 innings. Texas acquired the three-time Cy Young Award winner from New York just before the trade deadline, a deal that included Scherzer exercising his 2024 option that is worth $43.33 million and will be paid mostly by the Mets.
“I’ve got to listen to what my body says,” Scherzer said. “I’ll throw a ball when I can throw a ball, but it sounds like I’m not going to be able to throw a ball for a little bit.”
Toronto was his third consecutive abbreviated start. The eight-time All-Star allowed three hits and struck out two in 5 1/3 scoreless innings Tuesday night, getting the win as Rangers leapfrogged Toronto into the second AL wild-card spot.
Scherzer allowed a season-high seven runs, all on three homers, while throwing 60 pitches in three innings against Houston on Sept. 6. That was five days after he threw one-hit ball over six scoreless innings against Minnesota, but left after 88 pitches and later said he had some forearm tightness.
“This team has shown a ton of resolve all season long. We’ve lost five of six All-Stars in the second half at different periods. We’ve now lost a future Hall of Fame pitcher,” Young said. “Yet here we are in a great position to make a run here at the end of the season and make a playoff push.’”
All-Star right-hander Nathan Eovaldi missed seven weeks with a right forearm strain before getting activated from the injured list last week without a rehab assignment. Shortstop Corey Seager, the AL’s top hitter, and switch-hitting catcher Jonah Heim have also had IL stints since starting in the All-Star Game. Slugging right fielder Adolis Garcia (patellar tendon strain/right knee) and rookie third baseman Josh Jung (fractured left thumb) are still on the IL.
Two-time Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom had season-ending elbow surgery after the Rangers won each of his six starts before the end of April. He signed a $185 million, five-year contract in free agency last winter after nine seasons with the Mets.
“This clubhouse has been unbelievable through all the injuries we’ve had, especially in this second half,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “We’ll continue to persevere and focus forward.”
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