Mets' Max Scherzer pitches playing World Baseball Classic during different time of year
JUPITER, Fla. – Team USA could really use a Max Scherzer or Justin Verlander right about now after its pitching was shellacked by Mexico on Sunday night, but there’s an obvious reason most of the top American pitchers choose not to participate in the WBC.
As Scherzer explained after his outing in a minor-league game here on Monday, it’s too dangerous.
“I’m not ready to step into quasi-playoff games right now,” Scherzer said. “I do that, I’m really rolling the dice with my arm.
“It’s hard enough to try and make 33 starts, throw 200 innings with the normal ramp-up in spring. If I go out there and try to do too much, too early, it could really affect me throughout the season.”
With that in mind, Scherzer indicated he’d welcome the opportunity if the WBC were played at a different time of year, where MLB took a two-week break or something to give the tournament time to play.
“I think it would be a good idea,” he said. “You would get more pitchers participating and more importantly, I think it would be more exciting for the fans. You’d actually have starters built up, you wouldn’t have guys on pitch counts. You’d actually have real guys going out and it would be a real game.”
Scherzer gave up five runs in his minor-league outing on Monday, saying he wanted Tylor Megill to get the start in the big-league game. He said he was only concerned about getting his work in, especially in that low-key environment. He said he’ll have two more starts in spring training and will be ready for Opening Day.
“I don’t have to re-invent the wheel here,” he said. “I just need to get my reps in.”
That said, Buck Showalter is pondering the idea of having a little fun at Scherzer’s expense. The manager watched Scherzer pitch on a back field at the Marlins’ complex before returning to the Mets’ dugout for the last several innings of the big-league game.
As Showalter was walking back, he said he picked up the ball behind the left field fence from a home run Scherzer gave up to a minor-leaguer.
“I could have some fun with that,” he said. “I’m thinking about getting the kid’s name, having him sign it and give it to Max.”