Max Scherzer is one of a trio of key Rangers starters who’ll open the season on the injured list. The three-time Cy Young winner underwent surgery in mid-December to repair a disc herniation in his back. The team announced at the time that the injury would keep him out of action into June or July.
It appears things are going well in the early stages of Scherzer’s rehab process. Manager Bruce Bochy told MLB Network this week the team envisions the star righty being back on an MLB mound by June (X link). The veteran skipper said that’s “a little bit earlier” than the team initially expected. Bochy indicated the club was shooting for a July return for offseason signee Tyler Mahle and a potential August timetable on Jacob deGrom, both of whom are working back from Tommy John procedures.
A few other health notes around the league:
- Brendan Donovan is preparing for a rebound after his 2023 season was cut short. An injury to his throwing arm initially required the Cardinals infielder to move to designated hitter. With the team out of contention by the trade deadline, Donovan shut things down and underwent season-ending surgery. While that was initially reported as a flexor tendon repair in his forearm, Donovan clarified to John Denton of MLB.com that he actually had an internal brace procedure to fix the UCL in his elbow (on X). The 27-year-old is back in action this spring and should split most of his time with Nolan Gorman between second base and DH.
- Reds starter Nick Lodolo was limited to seven appearances in 2023 because of a stress reaction in his left tibia. That bothersome issue kept him out of action from mid-May on. The southpaw apparently isn’t quite at 100%. Lodolo has yet to make his Spring Training debut because of residual leg discomfort on days after his bullpen or live batting practice sessions, manager David Bell told reporters (link via Gordon Wittenmyer of the Cincinnati Enquirer). The Reds are sending Lodolo for additional testing on the bone before deciding on the next step in his build-up process. That’s at least somewhat alarming, although Bell said the team is still hopeful that Lodolo will avoid opening the season on the injured list.
- The Rays lost one of their depth infielders to what’ll be a fairly significant injury. Yu Chang will be out six to eight weeks after suffering an oblique strain, manager Kevin Cash told Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (relayed on X). That was the concern when the team revealed that Chang was dealing with left side soreness earlier in the week. The defensive specialist is in camp on a minor league contract. He had a shot at securing an Opening Day bench spot, particularly with Taylor Walls opening the season on the IL, but that’s no longer in play. The Rays have declared José Caballero their expected starter at shortstop. Recent free agent pickup Amed Rosario is on hand as a multi-positional option who’d likely be Caballero’s primary backup.