Scherzer healthy, will start Sunday

BY foxsports • September 22, 2012

DETROIT — The Tigers got good news Saturday — Max Scherzer is healthy and will start Sunday.

"I feel great," Scherzer said before Saturday's game. "I played catch today — 100 percent from 100 feet. Threw my sliders, changeups, everything — I feel great. It feels exactly how it would feel the day before a start."

Scherzer left his last start Sept. 18 after two innings when he experienced weakness in his right shoulder.

An MRI revealed no structural damage so Scherzer took anti-inflammatory medication and got treatment. He did not throw for three days.

"The big thing was that I couldn't come into this trying to be a hero and try to do it for the team," Scherzer said. "I had to make sure my arm was 100 percent, first, and I wasn't going to hurt myself or anything like that. That was the biggest thing to accept. But given that my arm is 100 percent and healthy, to be able to have an opportunity to help the team, we need it."

Manager Jim Leyland offered Scherzer the option of which game of the day-night doubleheader he wanted to start, and Scherzer opted for the day game.

"I figured I'd want to pitch in the day game when it's a little bit warmer," Scherzer said. "I think it would benefit me."

Now the Tigers hope they can benefit from the excellent season Scherzer is having. He already has a career best 16 wins.

The Tigers are in a dogfight with the Chicago White Sox for the Central Division crown with 13 games left, including Saturday.

"We're fighting for every last game we can," Scherzer said. "If I can go out there and help give the team a chance to win, I'll do anything."

Rotation now set for rest of season

Now that Leyland knows that Scherzer is healthy and ready to go, he has set the rotation for the rest of the regular season.

Doug Fister was set for Saturday's game. Sunday Scherzer pitches the day game and Drew Smyly the night game.

When Kansas City comes to town, Justin Verlander pitches Monday, Anibal Sanchez Tuesday, Rick Porcello Wednesday and Fister Thursday.

When the Tigers travel to Minnesota for three games, Scherzer will pitch Friday, Verlander on Saturday and Sanchez on Sunday.

In the final three games of the regular season in Kansas City, Porcello will go Monday, Fister on Tuesday and Scherzer on Wednesday.

Scherzer is excited about starting what could be a very meaningful last game of the regular season.

"I guess that’s what I’m scheduled for, so I guess that’s important for the ball club, too," Scherzer said. "I want to be able go out and help the team win, and this is my opportunity."

Gardenhire addresses pitching to Cabrera

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, who has already said he believes Miguel Cabrera should be the AL MVP, talked about pitching to a dangerous player who is in the hunt for the Triple Crown.

"We have to play to win," Gardenhire said. "I have total respect for the guy, and I think he's the best player in our league . . .  I have to do what I think I have to do to beat the Tigers, and if that's walking him and pitching to a guy who's also dangerous, that's what I'm going to do."

Gardenhire is aware that Tigers fans do not endorse intentional walks for their superstar slugger.

"I realize fans come to the ballpark to see him hit," Gardenhire said. "I come to the ballpark to see him walk. And not all the way around the bases."

Speaking of Cabrera, former AL MVP Justin Morneau agreed with his manager on the MVP race.

"I know where my vote's going; Cabrera," Morneau said. "What he's doing is amazing in a pitcher's ballpark. Close to a triple crown. It's amazing. It would be an easier decision if Detroit gets into the playoffs. He changed positions, that hasn't been talked about, really. Going to third base."