LOS ANGELES -- The reports that the Tigers received on Max Scherzer's outing at Triple-A Toledo on Thursday night were even more encouraging than the numbers, manager Jim Leyland said Friday. Now it's a matter of following it up.
"We like him a lot," he said, "but I think it just goes to show you. Sometimes it's not a popular move at the time with the player, but sometimes it's the best thing to do. Scherzer's going to be back, and I'm not going to jump up and down and get all crazy for one outing. I want to see what happens the next time out, see how he looks. But we're thrilled."
Scherzer threw eight innings of one-hit ball for the Mud Hens on Thursday with only one walk and 10 strikeouts against a Durham lineup that has no shortage of hitting talent, including outfield prospect Desmond Jennings and former Major Leaguer Dan Johnson. It was Scherzer's first outing since the Tigers optioned him out last Saturday and called up Armando Galarraga.
Tigers pitching coach Rick Knapp said Friday they felt Scherzer had been close to figuring out the mechanical issues that had led to his struggles in Detroit, having given up 27 runs on 33 hits over 18 innings in his last four starts. Scherzer's stuff, as well as his remarks to reporters afterward, suggested he had found what was wrong. Knapp gave credit to Mud Hens pitching coach A.J. Sager for working with him and to Scherzer translating adjustments into performance.
"It's good to see he went down and had those kind of results," Leyland said. "The report was actually, to me, better than the results, because you're talking with people who saw and they explain to you that he was pretty electric and everything. He got glowing reports on everything last night. He had his arm up in the right slot, had better velocity. But I think it's just kind of a little wait-and-see [situation] a little bit longer. We made it perfectly clear to him we need him, obviously, and we're counting on him."
Scherzer's next start for the Mud Hens will likely come Tuesday at Syracuse.