“When I woke up this morning I was completely locked up. It’s not just a muscle spasm. In talking to the doctors here, the nerve that’s in the neck is all jammed up. Thankfully from the doctors, what they say, as long as I have no numbness coming down my arms or anything, you don’t actually deal with any serious, any long-term damage here. It’s just the sensory that’s pinching up the nerve in the neck and the trap, the whole muscles that surround your neck are just completely locked up in spasm.” — MAX SCHERZER.

October 27, 2019

Max Scherzer

Washington, D.C. – pregame 5

Q. At what point in the last 24 hours did you kind of know it wasn’t going to be possible to pitch tonight? What was that feeling like when you realized that?
MAX SCHERZER: Kind of started a couple of days ago. I could tell, little neck spasms. I’ve had little neck spasms over the past, I know how to get through them. It was a couple days ago trying to get everything going. Try to think of the time on here.

I came in, got treatment two days ago, and didn’t feel quite right. But I know for me, like hitting, hitting is a similar throwing motion, usually if I can hit usually things can loosen up and I can throw a little bit better. When I hit, I could tell that didn’t loosen anything up. So it took throwing off.

Then I came in yesterday, did all the treatment, worked with all the doctors trying to get everything situated. And through all the treatment and everything, getting ready, thought we found a way to ease this spasm, ease everything going on, going through it. And I thought I could at least play catch. I was able to play catch yesterday.

And then when I woke up this morning I was completely locked up. It’s not just a muscle spasm. In talking to the doctors here, the nerve that’s in the neck is all jammed up. Thankfully from the doctors, what they say, as long as I have no numbness coming down my arms or anything, you don’t actually deal with any serious, any long-term damage here. It’s just the sensory that’s pinching up the nerve in the neck and the trap, the whole muscles that surround your neck are just completely locked up in spasm.

So for me it became impossible just to do any menial task whatsoever today.

Q. How would you describe your current irritation level with the situation?
MAX SCHERZER: In terms of like the level of pain?

Q. No, how irritated are you that you can’t pitch tonight?
MAX SCHERZER: I mean, I’m as disappointed as I possibly can be not to be able to pitch tonight. It’s Game 5 of the World Series.

I’ve pitched through so much crap in my career that that would be easy to pitch through at this point. This is literally impossible to do anything with.

So for me, I still have faith in everybody in this clubhouse. Watching Joe Ross pitch the other night, I thought he looked extremely polished in what he was able to do.

So in our clubhouse we just believe the next guy up can always get the job done. Right now it’s come down to Joe.

Q. How do you prepare to have to fly for three, three and a half hours on Monday down to Houston? And Davey had mentioned it’s possible, he hopes, that Game 7 could be in the offing for you. Is that what you think is also possible?
MAX SCHERZER: Yeah, that’s what the doctors believe, with this nerve irritation, that they think, with the cortisone shot in there, that the neck can take — and 48 hours really helps decide the pain that’s being alleviated — alleviate the pain from that neck nerve that’s in my neck right now that’s all pinched up.

So for me, I’m just hoping that the doctors are right and that something could be possible for Game 7.

Q. You obviously are in a lot of discomfort right now and you were just asked whether you’d be available for Game 6 or 7. If you had to answer right now, do you see that as a possibility?
MAX SCHERZER: Like I said, the doctors told me it’s going to take at least 48 hours for this to kick in. It was one of the things that was on the table yesterday. We didn’t want to go down that route and take the injection yesterday because we thought we found a way to be able to maintain everything yesterday that potentially make the start today.

And unfortunately, everything that we did yesterday just made kind of — I woke up this morning completely locked up, I couldn’t do anything, couldn’t even dress myself. I had to have my wife help me. And that’s where I was at.

Q. I was going to ask for the time line for the cortisone shot. It sounds like it was this morning or today.
MAX SCHERZER: Yes.

Q. What other treatments have you been doing to try to knock this out?
MAX SCHERZER: I mean, just everything. Usually when I get chiropractic adjustments that usually really helps me out with these neck spasms. I’ve dealt with them in the past different times where I just need little adjustments here and there. And that’s where I thought I was at a couple days ago. If I just do my normal treatment and get adjustments that I could be able to heed this off and keep it from being blowing up on me.

Unfortunately, this blew up on me to the point where, like I said, I can’t move.

Q. I know you’re disappointed to not be out there but how do you help this team win with the stakes so high in Game 5 in that dugout with your teammates?
MAX SCHERZER: Just keep the belief with everybody that we can win. Just the belief that whoever is at the plate whoever is on the mound has the ability to go out there and do their job and continue to do it. That’s been our kind of motto this whole season, that it’s not one guy.

So right now we need everybody — we needed everybody before, but it just continues to keep the spirit in itself that we need everybody in this clubhouse, no matter whether you’re on the roster or not. At some point somebody’s name is going to get called and you’re going to have to be able to step up today and help the team so we’re going to need other people to do it, as well.

Q. Do the doctors know if this is related at all to the back issues and the movements? Is there any way to tell? Is there anything this will need after the World Series?
MAX SCHERZER: No, the back issues are more, I’d say more like the — it’s lower back part, more the trap, lat — not trap, low trap and lat. Where it’s pinching on the bottom of the scap. That’s where a lot of those problems are coming from. This is more on the top part of the neck. It’s more the nerve irritation in the C5, C6 area where that’s pinched up and causing neck spasms.

So I really don’t believe that the back issue I dealt with in the middle of the year really has anything to do with it. Plus I’ve dealt with other little neck spasm, little issues in the past, as well, both on the right and left side and I’ve always been able to kind of address it and keep it from really getting out of hand, unfortunately this one got out of hand.

Q. (No microphone.)
MAX SCHERZER: That would be the dangers of pitching tonight was that something seriously, seriously could go wrong. But at the same time, I can’t pick up my arm right now. So I can’t pitch.

Q. You know your body so well. Do you think any of the irregularities over the last two or three weeks, long layoffs between pitching —
MAX SCHERZER: Absolutely not. Absolutely not. This is just a little thing that turned into a big thing that turned into a giant thing.

Q. Have you talked to Joe? Do you expect to have any conversation with him, this is a big moment to him? Will you guys interact at all?
MAX SCHERZER: No, he’s in his pregame routine, pregame mindset.

When I was coming to the park today, I knew there was just no way I was going to be able to get ready. I gave him a text to tell him, Hey, get ready, you’re going to be starting today. There’s no way I’m going to be able to start.

Q. So this morning obviously you go to sleep last night and you’re hoping you wake up and you feel better. What were your first 10 or 15 minutes like? You wake up and you immediately, I assume, do a self-assessment. What was that like and what did you notice?
MAX SCHERZER: Yeah, I wake up, and the moment I wake up it just completely — I couldn’t get out of bed. Like, it really hurt to get out of bed. I had to just basically fall out of bed and pick myself up with my left arm and I was moving around, just couldn’t even move my arm. I just knew at that point I was in a really bad spot.

Q. What was going through your mind at that moment? When you talk about severity in the past, has it ever been this bad, these spasms?
MAX SCHERZER: The only other time I’d say it’s ever been this bad, the Miami start, I was able to make a start and after an inning it completely locked up on me and I couldn’t do it. And there was a San Diego time where I tried to get through it and I wasn’t able to get through it. I think that was my DL stint when I had to go on the DL for that.

But those are the only two times. There’s been other little times where I’ve been able to have it and been able to get out of it. But this is the most severe one of all time.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

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