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Rangers’ Max Scherzer allows one hit over five innings in season debut after herniated disc

Rangers' Max Scherzer allows one hit over five innings in season debut after herniated disc

Pitcher Max Scherzer was activated from the injured list by the Texas Rangers on Sunday and made his 2024 season debut against the Kansas City Royals.

"Max is feeling good, so I'm feeling good," manager Bruce Bochy told reporters, including MLB.com's Kennedi Landry, before the game.

The 17-year veteran certainly looked good in his first start of the season, too. Scherzer allowed only one hit over five innings with four strikeouts while leading the Rangers to a 4-0 win over the Royals at Globe Life Field in Arlington. He didn't allow that hit until the fifth inning, when MJ Melendez reached base with a one-out double.

With his four strikeouts, Scherzer tied Greg Maddux for 11th on MLB's all-time strikeout list, according to MLB.com.

Scherzer, who will turn 40 on July 24, has not yet pitched this year while recovering from offseason surgery for a herniated disc. He last appeared for the Rangers in Game 3 of the World Series last season, where he threw three innings before leaving with back tightness.

After throwing 57 pitches on Sunday, Scherzer said he felt good but will now wait to see how his arm responds.

"Everything from a baseball standpoint was telling me to go back out there," he said after the game. "I'm pitching well, I'm throwing the ball well. I just don't know how I'm going to recover from this. The thumb issue is still there. I do feel fatigue in my forearm… I have to make the next start in five days."

The three-time Cy Young Award winner began a minor league rehab assignment in late April, but suffered a setback with right thumb soreness after a start for Round Rock on April 24. Scherzer revealed that team doctors diagnosed a nerve issue that extended to his right forearm and triceps.

Once the soreness alleviated, he made two more rehab starts on June 9 and 15. In that final rehab appearance, he notched eight strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings, giving up three runs on four hits.

After being traded to the Rangers from the New York Mets, Scherzer compiled a 3.20 ERA and 4–2 record in eight starts with 53 strikeouts in 45 innings last season. He allowed seven runs and 11 hits over 9 2/3 innings during the postseason.

Scherzer joins a Rangers starting rotation that's dealt with several injuries this season. Nathan Eovaldi and Dane Dunning have each spent time on the injured list, while Cory Bradford is still sidelined. Jacob deGrom and Tyler Mahle are coming off Tommy John surgery and hope to be available after the All-Star break.

The Rangers' win on Sunday, which completed the three-game sweep over the Royals, pushed them to 37–40 on the season. They still sit more than six games back in the AL West standings.

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