Dom. Feb 25th, 2024

ARLINGTON, Texas — The World Series champion Texas Rangers have two multiple-Cy Young Award winners who could return to their rotation sometime in the middle of the summer.

Three-time Cy Young winner Max Scherzer said Saturday that he is progressing from December surgery to repair a herniated disk in his lower back, while two-time winner Jacob deGrom plans to resume throwing this spring after elbow surgery that ended his Rangers debut after only six starts.

«When we get us back here, hopefully somewhere around the trade deadline, it’s like picking up a couple guys,» deGrom said during the team’s annual FanFest.

Scherzer, 39, was a trade-deadline acquisition for the Rangers last summer, and he was 4-2 with a 3.20 ERA in eight starts before missing the last two weeks of the regular season and the first two rounds of the playoffs because of a strained muscle in his right shoulder. He started twice in the AL Championship Series but was forced from his start in Game 3 of the World Series after three innings because of back discomfort that eventually led to surgery Dec. 15.

«We won the World Series, so everything’s great,» Scherzer said. «You’ve got to keep the glass half-full mentality to this.»

The right-hander said he got checked out by doctors right after the season and an MRI showed a little inflammation in his back. Scherzer said he started feeling better before experiencing nerve pain in his leg and then twice had epidural injections before another MRI revealed the herniated disk.

«I wasn’t doing anything. Like I wish I could tell you that that was actually jumping off a boat or something crazy,» Scherzer said. «I’m literally hobbling around chasing kids. That was the most extent of what I was doing.»

Scherzer said he has gotten past a crucial six-week period post-surgery without any complications.

«Now it’s just in the stage of just building back up of where I can get back into it and at the same time [figuring out] how to keep the arm primed as you’re navigating something where the biggest concerns are bending, lifting, twisting,» he said.

His 3,367 strikeouts are the most among active pitchers. He was 13-6 with a 3.77 ERA in 27 starts for the New York Mets and Rangers last season, with 174 strikeouts in 152⅔ innings. As part of the July 30 trade to Texas, Scherzer exercised his 2024 option and the Mets will pay Texas $30,833,334, leaving the pitcher’s cost to Texas at $12.5 million.

Former Mets star deGrom went to Texas last offseason on a $185 million, five-year deal that had a conditional option to add 2028 based on the elbow surgery that limited him to 30⅓ innings. He was 2-0 with a 2.67 ERA with 45 strikeouts as the Rangers won all six games he started; they would have missed the playoffs if they didn’t win at least three of those games.

DeGrom, 35, said he has started doing a plyometric training program that he will have to complete before he resumes throwing at some point this spring.

«My arm’s feeling really good,» he said. «It’s just what is smart. You don’t want to push it because you want to continue to pitch here for the next however many years. So that’s where we’ve got to kind of take a look at what is the best plan moving forward, whenever that time comes.»

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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