Max Scherzer

Spring Training is not off to a good start for the Washington Nationals. A knuckle injury on the right ring finger of ace Max Scherzer may keep him from Opening Day.

“The most recent MRI results of Scherzer’s finger showed the stress fracture that developed late last season is, as he put it, ‘essentially healed,’” Chelsea Janes of The Washington Post reported. “But the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner was not ready to pitch off a mound during the first official workout of the Nationals’ season. He might not be ready for Opening Day, either.”

For the Nationals, the potential problem is two-fold.

One, Scherzer is one of baseball’s best starting pitchers. Washington will want him to make as many starts as possible.

Two, if Scherzer is going to miss Opening Day, that will at least potentially limit what he can do during spring training. So, when Scherzer does return to action, it’s possible that he’ll take a little longer to find his top form than other pitchers.

Scherzer won his second career Cy Young Award in 2016. In 228.1 innings over 34 starts, he went 20-7, struck out a league high 284 batters, with a 2.96 ERA and 0.968 WHIP.