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Injured Mets ace Scherzer pitches 3 innings in simulated play

NEW YORK (AP) — Max Scherzer could be back in the New York Mets rotation soon.

The three-time Cy Young Award winner threw 50 pitches in a simulated game Thursday at Citi Field while recovering from a left oblique strain. If he continues to feel good, the right-hander plans to start minor league rehab next Tuesday — and it’s at least possible he’ll return to the Mets after that.

“It’s too hard to speculate because when you get to the next level, you might stress it too much. You don’t want to think further ahead than you can. It’s a tricky injury,” said Scherzer.

“So I would like to tell you that I can start rehab and I will feel great and I will come back. I would like to say that I can. Is that possible? Yes. But the reality is I could very easily have a rehab start, it would be tight and actually want to do it again before actually playing in a big league game really, really focused on not getting a setback. “

However, Scherzer is not concerned with stretching out properly before the start of a premier league game.

“I’m okay with being a little restricted. If I can come back here and throw 70, 80 pitches – give me the ball,” he said.

So it seems the earliest Scherzer could serve for the Mets is June 26 in Miami. That would be 5 1/2 weeks after he was injured in a May 18 start against St. Louis.

After tests revealed the oblique strain, the Mets said Scherzer’s injury typically requires six to eight weeks of recovery.

A second rehab start at the minors would likely delay Scherzer’s return to the July 1-3 weekend in the home game against Texas. But even this forecast is of course not based on setbacks.

“Hopefully he’s fine tomorrow and we can take the next step,” said manager Buck Showalter. “He knows his body. He knows his arm.”

Scherzer simulated three innings, facing Mets backup catcher Patrick Mazeika and two minor leagues.

“I did it exactly how I envisioned it, with the second inning being the most intense inning,” Scherzer said. “Felt good all the time. Thrown all the pitches so it’s good.”

According to Showalter, he approached the session with his typical intensity.

“He was there and you could tell he was enjoying being back out on the hill here at Citi Field,” Showalter said.

Scherzer, who turns 38 next month, is 5-1 in his first season with the Mets with a 2.54 ERA across eight starts after signing a three-year, $130 million contract as a free agent.

New York is also missing his colleague Jacob deGrom, who has been sidelined all season with a stress reaction in his right shoulder blade. The two-time Cy Young Award winner did not perform after July 7 last year due to an elbow injury.

The right-hander, who turns 34 on Sunday, threw 30 pitches in his fourth bullpen session on Tuesday and is scheduled for an “up-and-down” bullpen on Friday.

New York still had the best record in the National League at 41-23 ahead of Thursday night’s series finale against Milwaukee. But the Mets’ 10 1/2 game cushion in the NL East on June 1 had shrunk to four thanks to Atlanta’s 14-game winning streak.

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