Max Scherzer won't be on the mound opening day, buthe's expected to pitch opening week.
The Nationalsright-handeris progressingfrom a lingering stress fracture inhis right ring finger that has hindered him throughout spring training. The injury initially was diagnosedlast August.
"Right now, we've kind of got Max slated as the No. 3 starter," manager Dusty Baker said Wednesday, via ESPN. "He's No. 3 because that's how his turn worked out with giving him some more time."
Scherzer made his spring training debut Wednesday, throwing73 pitches and 49 strikes over 4 2/3 innings in the team's loss to the Cardinals. Though he isn't quite where he wants to be,Scherzer is confident he'll be ready to go by Washington's third game, when the Nationals host the Marlins on April 6.
"To be out there competing, throwing all my pitches, throwing them for strikes ... that's a great first outing," Scherzer said. "... Finger's good. Finger feels like a finger. I'm getting through that injury. It's behind me now.
"That's the good news, that I'm basically on pace to start the regular season on time and I really shouldn't miss a turn in the rotation. Considering where I was at coming into spring training to not have to go to DL, that's a huge feat."
Scherzer, 32,went20-7 with a 2.96 ERA,11.2 K/9 and6.2 WAR last season to win the NL CyYoung Award.