Nationals’ Max Scherzer scratched from start with tricep discomfort less than a week before trade deadline

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Washington Nationals right-hander Max Scherzer will not make his scheduled start on Saturday night against the Baltimore Orioles. Rather, Scherzer was scratched on Saturday afternoon because of “mild discomfort” in his right tricep muscle. The Nationals will instead start veteran left-hander Jon Lester.

The injury, which Scherzer does not believe is serious or a threat to his next start, occurred during a batting practice session on Tuesday, according to’s Jessica Camerato.

Scherzer’s tricep discomfort comes at an awkward time for all parties. The Nationals have recently been discussing trades involving him, according to reports that surfaced Saturday afternoon. Washington’s general manager Mike Rizzo conceded last week that the Nationals are likely to make a decision on buying or selling late in the process.

If the Nationals do pursue a trade involving Scherzer — and part of the motivation would be that he’s an impending free agent — it’ll be more complicated than the typical deal. 

Scherzer gained the ability to veto any trade by virtue of having more than 10 years of experience in Major League Baseball, with at least five of those coming with his current team. He has more than than 12 years of major league service time and is in his seventh season with the Nationals, having joined them on a free-agent deal prior to the 2015 season. It’s unclear if Scherzer would be willing to waive his no-trade rights for a move to a contender, or if he would require incentive to do so, such as an agreement on an extension.

Scherzer will enter his next start, whenever that is and for whomever,  having posted a 2.83 ERA (136 ERA+) and a 5.68 strikeout-to-walk ratio in his first 18 outings this season. Earlier in July, he made his eighth career All-Star Game.

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