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New York Mets ace Max Scherzer made his rehab debut on Tuesday night in a Double-A matchup between the Binghamton Rumble Ponies and Reading Fighting Phils.
It was Scherzer’s first appearance on the mound since suffering a left oblique strain on May 19, which landed him on IL. Scherzer pulled himself from the contest against the St. Louis Cardinals in the 6th inning in the middle of an at-bat and sent Mets fans into deep dismay as their team’s trending season faced significant time without their star pitcher — compounding the absence of fellow ace Jacob deGrom, who is still sidelined with a shoulder injury.
On Tuesday night, Scherzer appeared more than keen on returning to the big leagues.
Scherzer’s final line on the night wasn’t stellar — 3.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 6 K, 65 pitches — but the former Cy Young Winner’s health status proved to be the biggest W of the night for Mets fans.
“Healthy. I’m healthy,” Scherzer told reporters after his debut.
Scherzer allowed a home run by Jhailyn Ortiz, who knocked in his 11th homer of the season and shot up the search results on Google.
“So eager, I wanna get back out there so bad. You put in all this work, you see the team playing great baseball, you wanna be out there competing and winning with them,” the pitcher added.
Though the Mets could potentially bump up Scherzer’s pitch count in another start with Binghamton, his health may be reserved for a call-up to the big leagues.
“For me, I want to be in the big leagues, not be a Rumble Pony,” Scherzer added.
Scherzer was asked if he had any indication of a guaranteed return to the Mets this week.
“I can’t answer that question till tomorrow, I gotta see how this responds,” Scherzer said, maintaining that his oblique is responding well to the debut.
“Seeing throughout this whole process how when I’ve stressed the oblique, when it does tighten up, when I had to have those days … I feel good about today. I feel like I was able to do everything that I was wanting to do with it, and stress the oblique, and it feels good afterwards … you don’t really know until tomorrow.”
Early projections expect Scherzer to be back on the MLB mound on Sunday against the Miami Marlins.
“I think it’s more about Wednesday and Thursday, how he is doing afterwards, because Max has been very honest and frank with us,” Mets manager Buck Showalter commented, ahead of the Mets’ Tuesday night matchup against the Houston Astros from Minute Maid Park.
Follow along on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela