Scherzer has first 'pen session since injury

Scherzer has first 'pen session since injury

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Max Scherzer completed his first bullpen session of the spring on Saturday afternoon, the first time he has thrown off the mound since he arrived at camp still feeling the effects of a stress fracture in his right ring finger.

The Nationals announced Scherzer used a modified grip to get through the outing, but that it went well. Scherzer told the Washington Post that he threw his fastball with a three-fingered grip because the usual two-finger grip still caused him pain. He said he would continue to do so and did not rule out using the three-finger fastball grip during games.

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The fact that Scherzer was even throwing off a mound this soon was encouraging for manager Dusty Baker, who considered Scherzer ahead of schedule from where Baker thought the righty would be by this time.

"When we first got here we didn't know when he was going to start throwing," Baker said.

Scherzer's status unknown

When Scherzer arrived at Nationals camp earlier this month, he said the pain in his finger was still lingering, and it kept him from throwing bullpen sessions with the rest of the Nats' staff. Still, he has been playing catch daily and doing long toss in order to keep his arm fresh.

Scherzer has not committed to being ready for Opening Day, considering his finger has been slow to heal. He is still only about a week behind the rest of the Nationals' staff, however, so if he can start throwing pain free soon he could be on track to start the season on time.

Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.