HOUSTON -- Under the watchful eye of pitching coach Paul Menhart and trainer Paul Lessard, Nationals ace Max Scherzer played catch with bullpen catcher Octavio Martinez for about 10-15 minutes prior to Game 6 on Tuesday afternoon. Scherzer was scratched from his Game 5 start with stiffness in his neck and back.

"I'm good," Scherzer declared as he walked off the field.

After some light tosses to warm up, Scherzer threw with his full pitching motion -- he brought his hands over his head and everything -- and with intent. If he wasn't throwing with 100 percent effort, it was pretty close. Scherzer played catch on flat ground only and did not throw in the bullpen.

Prior to Game 5, Nationals manager Dave Martinez indicated Scherzer will be able to start a potential Game 7. Martinez reiterated that prior to Game 6 and it didn't sound like lip service. Scherzer threw free and easy and showed no obvious discomfort Tuesday afternoon. He looks ready to start Wednesday.

"As of right now, yes," Martinez said when asked whether said Scherzer would start a potential Game 7. "... He threw, he felt good. We'll see what transpires between now and tonight. But he said he feels good. As of right now, he'll definitely start Game 7." 

Scherzer, ahead of Game 5, admitted he'd felt discomfort for a few days, and described the injury as a "little thing that turned into a big thing that turned into a giant thing." He received a cortisone shot, which typically take 48 hours to fully kick in, Sunday afternoon. His throwing session came after the 48 hours.

"If Max tells me tonight that he's good, then Max would pitch until his neck decides he can't pitch anymore," Martinez added. "I can't see myself telling Max, 'Hey, you're only going to go 75 pitches.' He's going to want to go as long as he can."  

Scherzer did warm during the game in the bullpen, and Martinez admitted that he contemplated using him in Tuesday's win. In the end, Martinez opted to save Scherzer for the Game 7 start instead. Game 3 starter Anibal Sanchez and Game 4 starter Corbin will also be available in relief.