DETROIT — Fresh off the glow of taking over sole possession of first place in the AL Central by one game Wednesday night, the Detroit Tigers got a smack of reality Thursday morning.
It appears the deltoid muscle that forced 16-game winner Max Scherzer out of his start after two innings on Sept. 18 is not fully healed.
As a result, Scherzer will not start Friday night in Minnesota. Instead, rookie Drew Smyly (4-3, 4.24) will pitch.
Scherzer felt good enough to start the first game of the day-night doubleheader Sunday, but there were concerns when he was not able to reach his usual 98-to-99-mph velocity on his fastball.
The Tigers took Scherzer out of that game in the sixth inning after he had thrown 86 pitches.
He said he felt healthy after the game, but apparently things weren’t quite right.
“Your arm’s sore after every start,” Scherzer said. “My arm was sore after that last start. I was able to loosen it up and be able to throw my pen, but after that, I lost kind of the range of motion that I had gained by loosening it up. It became painful to do a couple specific range of motions.”
Scherzer originally was scheduled to start the final game of the season in Kansas City, but this setback puts that in doubt.
“I want to be able to, but at the same time, when you have a recurring injury like this, you can’t get back onto the mound again before you’re 100 percent,” Scherzer said. “Back to square one again. That’s a thing where, now, I have to address it in a more serious manner.”