Scherzer gives green light for start vs. Mets

Escobar nearing return to action; Rendon making progress

Scherzer gives green light for start vs. Mets

ATLANTA -- There was mostly good news for the Nationals on the medical front, as pitcher Max Scherzer gave the thumbs-up for his scheduled start on Friday, while third baseman Yunel Escobar was declared good enough to go, if needed, on Wednesday against the Braves. Anthony Rendon, who is on a rehab assignment, did not play on Wednesday, but he made slight progress.

Scherzer, who was scratched from his start on Tuesday, had been nursing a sore right thumb and wrist, which he injured batting last Thursday against St. Louis. But he's thrown in the outfield prior to the last two games and will get back on the hill in the second game of Washington's four-game set with the Mets at Citi Field.

"The plan for Max is Friday," manager Matt Williams said prior to Wednesday's game with the Braves. "We will push Gio [Gonzalez] and Doug [Fister] back a day and Maxie will slide in on Friday. He threw again today, just some flat-ground catch and he feels good. He's ready to go."

Scherzer admitted that he hated missing a start, but he is relieved that it was only one start and that the problem wasn't bigger.

"If this was playoffs, I would have thrown [Tuesday] given the situation, but this is April," he said. "I'm taking an extra three days to make sure that this is not a long-term injury. This is not DL. Thinking of all the bad things that really could have happened, I'm not dealing with that. I'm missing three days. For an injury to my pitching hand, it's a pretty good recovery."

Escobar exits with injury

Also making a good recovery is Escobar. After having the glove knocked off his left hand on Monday night with a hard slide by Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons, Escobar sat out on Tuesday, but he was deemed available by Williams in the series finale in emergency situations.

"The swelling's down. He did some hitting. I'm sure he'll take some grounders and get a lather going today," Williams said. "He's still cut up pretty good, but I think [Thursday] he'll be OK to play."

Wednesday was another light day for Rendon in his rehab assignment at Double-A Harrisburg, but the news was more encouraging than the previous two days, when he was scratched due to "fatigue," then, the next day, was scratched again, after feeling some tightness in his side.

"He hit in the cage today, threw, and that was the extent of his day today," Williams said. "We'll reevaluate him tomorrow and see where he's at, but it's better today than it was yesterday, which is a good sign.

"I don't think it's serious. The fact that he's able to go ahead and swing, it's kind of there, but it's not biting him too bad is a good sign."

Jon Cooper is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.