The Detroit Tigers are well into their extra-long Spring Training schedule, having played five games to this point. The schedule is longer due to the World Baseball Classic that will be held this next month. Some teams have used the extra time to develop players more and get them some extra innings of work, but for the Tigers, they’ve used this time for some much needed rest from last year’s long season.
Max Scherzer, who had a great 2012 campaign, has yet to make a start this spring and according to manager Jim Leyland, there are a few reasons for that. One of them is the run to the World Series that extended the Tigers’ season, which is a problem 28 teams would love to have every year. Another is the deltoid issue he suffered at the end of last season.
Scherzer spent some time on the disabled list last year due to a deltoid muscle strain. There was no structural damage, so he didn’t have to undergo any type of surgery, but the Tigers wanted to make sure he got the maximum amount of rest (pardon the pun). He will make his first start this Sunday against the Atlanta Braves and it should be a pretty good test for the hard-throwing Scherzer.
The Tigers gave Scherzer a one-year deal that was worth about $6.7 million this offseason to avoid arbitration and they hope he continues to pitch like he did last year. He struck batters out at a rate of 11.1 per nine innings and had a 16-7 record, which put him in the American League Cy Young Award talks. At times, he was the most consistent and most effective pitcher for the Tigers and that’s high praise when you have Justin Verlander on your team.
It will be interesting to see how Scherzer pitches Sunday after the long offseason, but I’m sure he will find his marks pretty quick. Scherzer is a pitcher that can struggle with his command at times, but once he gets dialed in, he should be back to throwing strikes and striking batters out. He should be worth every penny the Tigers spent on him this offseason.