The Washington Nationals placed right-handed starter Max Scherzer on the injured list on Tuesday because of groin inflammation, according to MASN's Mark Zuckerman. Scherzer's stint is backdated to June 12, meaning he'll be eligible to return in a week's time. In corresponding moves, the Nationals designated right-hander Rogelio Armenteros for assignment and purchased the contract of fellow righty Justin Miller from Triple-A Rochester.
Scherzer, 37 come late July, exited his outing on Friday after throwing just six pitches. Prior to then, he'd been off to a phenomenal start to this season. In 13 appearances so far, he's compiled a 2.21 ERA (171 ERA+) and a 6.93 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 77 ⅓ innings pitched.
Scherzer's fitness is worth monitoring for a variety of reasons, including his availability for the All-Star Game and his expected standing as the top pitcher on the trade block. Provided Scherzer does return next week, he'll have five weeks to prove to contenders he's right as rain.
With Scherzer (and Stephen Strasburg) on the mend, the Nationals will need to find a replacement starter for Wednesday's game. The most obvious internal option is Paolo Espino, who pitched three innings in relief of Scherzer on Friday. The Nationals' schedule features two off days between now and next Tuesday, which should help Washington get through this stretch without causing too much disruption to their rotation.
Miller, 34, previously pitched in the majors with the Nationals in both the 2018-19 seasons. In 13 minor-league appearances this season, he'd posted a 0.55 ERA and a 7.25 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
The Nationals entered Tuesday with a 28-35 record on the season, good for fourth place in the National League East. Washington has won three of its last four games, and will play the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates twice more ahead of a weekend showdown with the first-place New York Mets.