Nats' Scherzer, Soto should make delayed debuts this week

Nationals Baseball
Posted at 12:25 PM, Mar 03, 2021

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Max Scherzer and Juan Soto should make their delayed Grapefruit League debuts this week for the Washington Nationals.

Scherzer, a three-time Cy Young Award winner, hurt his left ankle last month while preparing for the start of spring training but could start Washington’s exhibition game against visiting St. Louis on Friday.

“If everything goes according to plan, Max will probably do a little bit of a touchy-feely bullpen tomorrow and start the game,” pitching coach Jim Hickey said Tuesday, when Washington did not have a game. “As long as he responds well, and I think that he will.”

Soto, the 2020 NL batting champion, fouled a ball off his right foot during live batting practice Sunday. He sat out what was supposed to be his first game Monday, but worked out Tuesday and is expected to play Wednesday against Miami.

“He’s fine, he’s good. ... I just wanted to give him a day (to) get back on his feet,” manager Dave Martinez said. “He did some outfield work. Hit. Hit on the field. Hit in the cage. Ran a little bit.”

NOTES: The D.C. government told the Nationals it’s too soon to say whether spectators will be allowed to attend the team’s home games. Christopher Rodriguez, the director of the city’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, wrote in a letter Tuesday that the club’s application requesting to play games at Nationals Park is approved “without fans in attendance.” Rodriguez said the city hopes to offer an update in about two weeks. ... Hitting coach Kevin Long said 3B Carter Kieboom had laser eye surgery in the offseason. “He’s seeing the ball better,” Long said. “He’s not squinting.”