The Rangers transferred 3-time Cy Young winner Max Scherzer to the 60-day injured list

Max Scherzer was placed on the 60-day injured list Wednesday, as the Texas Rangers made a move they initially avoided earlier in the season when there was some hope that the three-time Cy Young Award winner could return. Offseason back surgery Faster than expected.

When Scherzer made his initial rehab appearance on April 24, he seemed likely on track to rejoin the rotation this month. But he was scratched from his next scheduled rehab start six days later because of right thumb pain that team doctors later identified as a nerve problem extending to his right tricep.

He had cortisone injections and Botox injections in the shoulder and neck area on May 9 to relieve pain related to nerve problems.

“It's exciting to tackle, but we're talking about your nerves,” Scherzer said. “You can screw your arm for life. We have to figure out a way to manage that.”

Scherzer played catch in the outfield on Wednesday, when the Rangers moved him from 15-day to 60-day IL to make room on their 40-man roster to add right-hander Sean Anderson to their active roster.

“We just backed him up a little bit,” Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said Wednesday. “I'd say he's feeling better.”

Anderson was recalled from Round Rock when Jack Leiter was returned to that Triple-A team one day after allowing six runs in 1 2/3 innings against Cleveland in his first home start.

The earliest Scherzer can now be activated is May 28, though it's unclear when he might be ready to pitch this season.

The 39-year-old right-hander had surgery in mid-December to repair a herniated disc in his lower back and said it hasn't been giving him any problems.

Scherzer Threw 52 pitches in the third inning of his first rehab start April 24 for Round Rock. He said afterward that he felt a sore thumb like last year before being sidelined late in the regular season and early in the playoffs for the World Series champion Rangers.

The Rangers acquired Scherzer from the Mets in a deadline trade last July when the pitcher agreed to opt into the final year of his contract for this season at $43.3 million. Of this, New York is giving Texas $30.83 million In two monthly installments.

After the trade, Scherzer was 4-2 with a 3.20 ERA in eight starts for Texas, ending the regular season on September 12. His shoulder is sidelined by a muscle strain. He returned to make two starts in the American League Championship Series, then Game 3 of the World Series before exiting after three innings because of his back.

His 3,367 career strikeouts are the most among active pitchers, and he is second on the active list with 214 wins and 448 games started.

Reporting by the Associated Press.

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