Texas Rangers right-hander Max Scherzer may not begin the season on the 60-day injured list, general manager Chris Young told ESPN's Buster Olney Wednesday. That could, in turn, indicate Scherzer may be able to return earlier than was forecasted in the immediate aftermath of his offseason back surgery to repair a herniated disc.

Scherzer, 39, had originally been expected to miss the first couple months of the season. The Rangers obtained him in a trade with the New York Mets last deadline. Scherzer subsequently started eight times for Texas during the regular season, compiling a 3.20 ERA (140 ERA+) and a 3.53 strikeout-to-walk ratio. 

If Scherzer does make an earlier than expected return to the mound, it won't be the first time he's done so in Rangers gear. Last September, he was sidelined by a strained teres major muscle in his right shoulder that appeared likely to end his campaign. Instead, Scherzer returned in time to make three postseason appearances, including a three-inning start in the World Series that saw him hold the Arizona Diamondbacks scoreless. 

While teams aren't obligated to place players slated to miss extended him on the 60-day injured list, there are benefits from a roster construction perspective. Players who are on the 60-day injured list do not count against the 40-player roster limit. That means that a team in the Rangers' situation -- with more players to add to their 40-player roster than available spots -- could "free up" a spot by placing a player on the 60-day injured list. Of course, teams would only take that step if they believed the player was certain to miss 60 or more days.

The Rangers do have other injured players they can shift to the 60-day IL, including fellow righties Jacob deGrom and Tyler Mahle, both of whom are recovering from Tommy John surgery. With that in mind, the Rangers seem to want to keep their options open when it comes to Scherzer's return, even if it still ends up falling outside of the season's first 60 days.