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Max Scherzer has stress fracture, won’t pitch in World Baseball Classic

Tuesday’s Say Hey, Baseball includes Max Scherzer’s hand injury, Dan Duquette walking back his comments, and a “Dream Series” for diversity.

Division Series - Los Angeles Dodgers v Washington Nationals - Game Five Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

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Max Scherzer was set to pitch for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic this March, but instead, he’ll be watching it on television like the rest of us. Scherzer has a stress fracture in his ring finger, but it’s not a new injury, so don’t be super alarmed if this is the first you’re hearing about it. Scherzer is actually rehabbing the stress fracture, as it was initially diagnosed as a sprain in August and was something he was able to pitch through — the pain didn’t lessen, though, so an additional check on the injury showed that he actually had a stress fracture.

Nationals fans, you can chill here, as Scherzer himself says he’s on pace to return to the mound before spring training begins. Asking him to pitch in the competitive format of the WBC is a step too far at that time, however, so he’ll stick around in spring training and focus on getting to 100 percent in time for Opening Day. That’s disappointing for America, but not for the Nats.

Luckily for Team USA, there is a new rule in place for this World Baseball Classic that should help them on the mound. A new "pitcher pool" will let teams add new pitchers to the roster later on in the tournament, so Team USA could conceivably add someone like Clayton Kershaw or Madison Bumgarner late in the tourney for a boost, should they get that far. They already have, confirmed, Chris Archer, Danny Duffy, and Marcus Stroman — Scherzer was supposed to be the true ace of the staff — so a start or two from the likes of Kershaw and Bumgarner would go a long way, especially if they can time it using the pitcher pool. We’ll have to see if they try to get Kershaw for the whole thing now that Scherzer is out, as they’ll have to do something to make up for this loss.