Cy Young candidate Max Scherzer to return Thursday

© Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Nationals ace and top NL Cy Young candidate Max Scherzer will return to the bump Thursday, manager Dave Martinez announced.

Scherzer has missed the past couple starts with a back strain. He’ll now take to the hill against the Colorado Rockies.

Martinez had thought about holding Scherzer out until Friday against the NL-best Los Angeles Dodgers. However, this move puts him in line to start a hypothetical wild card game.

Scherzer, 34, has pitched to a 9-5 record with a 2.30 ERA and 0.98 WHIP while striking out 181 batters in 129.1 innings this season.

Washington heads into Tuesday’s action with a 52-46 record and 6.5 games behind the Atlanta Braves in the NL East. Getting their ace back will be a boon moving forward.