WASHINGTON — Max Scherzer suffered a scary injury on a comebacker during his last start, taking a line drive at over 100 mph to his leg, near the kneecap:
After rolling around the field in obvious pain, the question for fans was simple: how long do we lose him for? The answer was astounding, as Scherzer regained his composure and finished the inning. He then shook off trainers in the dugout and returned to pitch the second immaculate inning (three strikeouts, nine pitches) in Nationals franchise history.
He would hang around long enough to pitch a quality start and will not miss his next start, although he has been pushed back a day.
How does he do it? Freak genetics, true grit and healthy doses of adrenaline will help athletes overcome injuries. But Scherzer also attributes some of his success to his physical preparation and epic workouts.
“I think every part of your body has got to be strong,” Scherzer told Byron Kerr of MASN Sports. “I think you need strong chest, strong core, strong biceps, you need everything strong. The only thing I don’t do is I don’t do anything overhead.”
Scherzer’s workouts are so legendary that Dusty Baker has encouraged young pitchers over the last two seasons to latch onto his regimen and make it their own. If only they could keep up.
“I believe in lifting weights. I had weights in my house for the last 30 years. But you also got to run, swim or something to stay leaner,” Baker explained. “I told (Lucas) Giolito when he was here to follow Max. I see (Jacob) Turner is following Max.
“Then Giolito came back in like he was about to die. That old man just ran him into the ground. So if they got in a fight, who do you think would win?”
That’s easy: no one should ever fight with Scherzer, for so many reasons.
“Pitchers got to be complete athletes,” Scherzer said. “I know we get a bad rep of not being athletes. But you got to lift heavy, you got to lift all parts of your body and you got to run and have the type of conditioning for every single type of run there is: You need distance runs, you need interval runs and you need sprints. You got to be an athlete on the mound out there.”
Scherzer also takes pride in his offense, wanting to be able to run the bases effectively without it affecting his performance on the mound.
“If you are out there running the bases hard, you have to have that type of conditioning level that as soon as you are done running the bases, you are not out of breath or you are not winded,” he said. “You can go right back into what you were doing the next few pitches. That’s very important to have.
“You are trying to throw as many pitches as you can as hard as you can. You need at least one day of running that mimics that.”
In case you were considering it, don’t mess with Max Scherzer.