Scherzer hits DL with shoulder fatigue

Scherzer on DL with sore shoulder

MINNEAPOLIS -- The D-backs placed top pitching prospect Max Scherzer on the seven-day Minor League disabled list Friday with shoulder fatigue.

Scherzer, who took the baseball world by storm on April 29 when he retired all 13 Houston batters he faced in his Major League debut, underwent an MRI that showed he had shoulder inflammation and fatigue in his throwing arm.

"Basically he needs to strengthen his shoulder," D-backs director of player development A.J. Hinch said. "We're going to give him a break. It's kind of a good time to give him a break and a blow and the ability to do that."

After his debut, Scherzer was placed in the starting rotation and he compiled a 3.00 ERA in three starts. When Doug Davis returned from cancer surgery, Scherzer was moved to the bullpen, where he made six appearances before being optioned to Tucson on June 13 when the D-backs ran into a pitching crunch in the bullpen.

His first appearance for Tucson came in relief on June 15 and after pitching a one-two-three seventh, he struggled in the eighth and ninth, and wound up allowing six runs (five earned) on four hits in 2 1/3 innings.

Afterwards he complained of his shoulder not recovering as quickly as it usually does, so the D-backs had him examined by team physician Michael Lee.

"He hasn't specified a pinpoint place where it's a sharp injury of some sort," Hinch said. "Shoulder strengthening is something that's best not only for now, but in offseasons in the future. For a guy with that type of arm, the recovery is important and the strength is important. With the strength being down, it puts a lot of other things in jeopardy, which is why we're being proactive with this, as opposed to allowing him to possibly do damage to his shoulder."

The club backdated his DL time to June 18, which means technically he is eligible to come off June 25, but it will likely be longer.

"It's hard to put an estimate on it," Hinch said. "He's not going to throw for a few days, and get [his strength training] underway. Then we'll see how he recovers. As the plan moves forward, we'll get him back on the mound. I don't anticipate it being a long-term deal. Will he be ready at the end of the seven days? I don't know. I don't want to put a deadline on him that it would be a failure if he doesn't make it. The important thing is to get rid of the symptoms and the dead arm and get back on the mound. If that takes, five, seven, 10, 15 days, whatever. The key is to resolve the issue."

Scherzer reached as high as 98 mph in his big league debut, and his velocity seemed to drop in his last few outings in the Majors.

"There was a small decrease," Hinch said. "It wasn't alarming, but it was noticeable."

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.