Max Scherzer's tight hamstring didn't allow him to be the Mets' Opening Day starter, but he told reporters on Thursday that he's cleared the necessary testing in order to start the team's second game of the regular season on Friday evening. The decorated right-hander was scratched from a scheduled intrasquad start last Saturday because of right hamstring tightness, and afterward he characterized himself as day-to-day.
Scherzer, whom the Mets signed to a two-year, $86.67 million deal earlier this offseason, had been considered for Opening Day only because ace Jacob deGrom is sidelined possibly until June or later with a stress reaction in his scapula.
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Scherzer, 37, is coming off a strong 2021 season in which he pitched to a 2.46 ERA and 6.56 K/BB ratio in 179 1/3 innings for the Nationals and Dodgers. For his efforts, the future Hall of Famer finished third in the NL Cy Young balloting. Scherzer previously won the AL Cy Young in 2013 with the Tigers and the NL award in 2016 and 2017 as a member of the Nationals.
Mets owner Steve Cohen spent big this offseason in an effort to position his Mets as serious contenders in the tough NL East. Already, though, health concerns at the front of the rotation have compromised the Mets' hopes in 2022. Unlike deGrom's injury, Scherzer's does not appear to be serious.