NEW YORK METS (15-7, first place/NL East) vs. WASHINGTON NATIONALS (9-13, fourth place/NL East)
NATIONALS SHORT HOPS
Max Scherzer plans to reenter the rotation Friday against the Mets, after he was backed off his originally scheduled start Tuesday. Scherzer was dealing with a sprained ligament in his right thumb. He suffered the injury getting jammed with a pitch while batting last Thursday. Scherzer subsequently told CBSSports.com that he would prefer the National League adopt the DH. "If you look at it from the macro side, who'd people rather see hit: Big Papi or me?" he told the website. "Who would people rather see, a real hitter hitting home runs or a pitcher swinging a wet newspaper? Both leagues need to be on the same set of rules."
Anthony Rendon's rehab assignment has hit a few snags. He first was scratched from a minor league game Monday with left knee tightness. He then was unable to play the following two days because of unrelated soreness on his side. Rendon has been idle all season. He opened the season on the disabled list because of an MCL sprain in his left knee, which he suffered in a Grapefruit League game on March 9. He originally eyed a return by the end of the four-game series with the Mets, although the issues now make it more likely the activation is delayed.
With Rendon sidelined, Yunel Escobar has handled third base for the Nats, opening a spot for Dan Uggla to share second-base duties with Danny Espinosa. Uggla had a big night in Atlanta against his former club on Tuesday. He belted a three-run homer in the ninth to lift Washington to a 13-12 win. It was Uggla’s first homer since April 14, 2014. The Nats had trailed 9-1 in the second inning of that game before rallying for the win. According to ESPN Stats & Information, teams had been 5-1,031 in major league games over the past five seasons when trailing by eight runs before Washington’s comeback.
The Nats arrive at Citi Field having produced 26 runs and 30 hits in back-to-back wins in Atlanta. They previously had lost six straight games.
Jayson Werth made his season debut on April 13 after opening the season on the DL. He underwent offseason surgery to repair the AC joint in his right shoulder. Werth has moved to left field this season, with Bryce Harper shifting to right field. The switch was done because Werth’s range has diminished. He turns 36 on May 20. Werth’s return cost ex-Met Matt den Dekker a major league roster spot. Den Dekker was demoted to Triple-A Syracuse. Den Dekker was 0-for-2 and made four appearances off the bench with the Nats to open the season after being acquired for left-handed reliever Jerry Blevins. Werth snapped an 0-for-14 skid with a seventh-inning single Wednesday. He’s hitting .154.
Harper has reached base in 15 straight games and leads the majors in walks. Harper actually is on pace for 155 walks this season.
The Nats signed ex-Met Jose Valverde to a minor league deal on Wednesday. Valverde, 37, had been released by the San Diego Padres on the eve of the regular season.