Max Scherzer is back on the 10-day injured list, unwelcome news for the Washington Nationals as they push for a wild card berth and try to catch the Atlanta Braves in the NL East.
The Nationals announced Monday that Scherzer was placed on the IL with a minor rhomboid strain. The injury is in the same area as the inflammation under his right shoulder that forced the ace right-hander to the IL for 19 days earlier this month.
Scherzer was dominant in June and won seven consecutive starts as Washington worked its way back into playoff contention following a 19-31 start. He returned from the IL last Thursday and allowed three runs in five innings in a no-decision against the Rockies. The next day, he had an MRI that revealed the injury.
Last week, Nationals manager Dave Martinez said he was relieved the famously intense Scherzer, known as "Mad Max," would be back on the mound, giving him an outlet for his competitive energy. But on Monday, Martinez said Scherzer needs to be cautious about his recovery.
"Right now, we just want him to understand, `Let's just take our time and get it right so this doesn't continue to be an issue,'" Martinez said.
Martinez said he was the "wrong person to ask" about whether the injuries were related, noting that Scherzer now has a muscle strain instead of inflammation.
The move to the IL is retroactive to July 26, which means Scherzer could pitch as soon as Aug. 5.
"That's not by any means a target date," Martinez said. "We just want him to be 100 percent."
The three-time Cy Young Award winner is 9-5 with a 2.41 ERA.
Washington recalled right-hander Erick Fedde from Double-A Harrisburg to take Scherzer's place on the roster. Fedde was slated to start Tuesday night against the Braves in Scherzer's rotation spot. He is 1-1 with a 3.40 in 13 appearances (eight starts) this season.