Bill Ladson

Scherzer sharp in first session facing hitters

Scherzer sharp in first session facing hitters

VIERA, Fla. -- Nationals right-hander Max Scherzer threw his first live batting-practice session Sunday at the club's Spring Training complex, and he looked like he was in midseason form.

Scherzer's fastball was crisp, and he had a slider that was going down in the zone effectively.

"It felt great. It has been a few months since I've been out there facing hitters," Scherzer said. "It actually seemed like I knew what I was doing. It was a good feeling."

Before he started the session, Scherzer hummed "The Star-Spangled Banner." He likes to pretend he is in a real game before he throws from the mound.

"It's all about the little things," Scherzer said. "You have to go as deep as possible to simulate every last little thing. I was mad that I didn't even have water today."

Scherzer faced Dan Butler, Matt Skole, Sandy Leon and Kila Ka'aihue, and the quartet made little contact against the right-hander.

"He threw his fastball down," said Butler, who hit a weak ground ball on the second-base side of the diamond. "It looked like he was throwing from both sides of the plate. ... It looked like the breaking ball was sharp. As he got settled in with the hitters in there, the fastball was coming out. He was doing a good job of it."

Said Skole: "Everything looked pretty easy. He had good movement on pitches. He is one of the best pitchers in the game. ... It's the first time seeing live pitching in a while. He looked sharp."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.