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Rangers' Scherzer hopeful of next step in return after bullpen session

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MIAMI (AP) — Texas Rangers pitcher Max Scherzer believes he cleared an initial hurdle in returning to the club after his bullpen session in Miami on Saturday.

The three-time Cy Young Award winner has not pitched with the defending World Series champions this season following back surgery in December.

Scherzer threw approximately 25 pitches before the Rangers’ second game of their series against the Marlins. If he continues to show no ill effects, the next step would be for Scherzer to face hitters in a batting practice session.

“That’s completely determined on how I recover,” Scherzer said Sunday. “You can’t get ahead of yourself. All you can do is do this, your body responds and you do more. I felt great. I felt I finally turned a corner on this.”

Scherzer attempted an earlier return last month, but was sidelined by another setback. He experienced soreness in the thumb of his throwing hand after a minor league rehab outing on April 24 and was transferred to the 60-day injured list on May 15.

“My arm has always been fine,” Scherzer said. “Now it’s like the search engine light just won’t go off. There is something wrong with the engine. We addressed it and now everything is flying on all cylinders. Now I can ramp up.”

The 39-year-old Scherzer, who has won 214 games over a 16-year career, joined the Rangers at the trade deadline last season. Scherzer made eight starts with Texas during its AL pennant-winning run. He started the third game of the World Series against Arizona, but was lifted after three scoreless innings because of his back.

“We’ll see what the next move is,” Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said. “We’re looking at facing hitters, live (batting practice) deal. That’s not etched in stone. So I have to get with the trainer and with Scherzer and see if he’s ready for that.”

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