The Latest: Martinez says Max Scherzer feels great

The Latest: Martinez says Max Scherzer feels great
Washington Nationals starting pitcher Max Scherzer speaks during a news conference before Game 5 of the baseball World Series against the Houston Astros Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019, in Washington. Scherzer was slated to start Sunday's World Series game, has been scratched with spasms in his neck and right trapezius. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

HOUSTON (AP) — The Latest on Game 7 of the World Series (all times local):

4:55 p.m.

Nationals manager Dave Martinez says Game 7 starting pitcher Max Scherzer has told him that he feels great and is ready to go.

“He’s going to go, he’s going to pitch,” Martinez said before the deciding game Wednesday night. “We’ll see how far he will take us.”

Scherzer, the Game 1 winner, wasn’t able to make his scheduled start in Game 5 on Sunday night because of an irritated nerve near his neck. The three-time Cy Young winner had an injection that night and threw on flat ground before Game 6. He was later seen throwing in the bullpen during that game Tuesday night.

Martinez wasn’t sure Scherzer would be able to pitch again in this World Series after he couldn’t move Sunday. The manager even scrunched his shoulders and grimaced while trying to imitate how the pitcher looked before the shot.

Scherzer will be throwing to catcher Yan Gomes instead of Kurt Suzuki, who was initially in the starting lineup for Game 7 after missing the last three games with a hip flexor strain.

The manager says Suzuki is still available to come off the bench and play, either as a hitter or catcher.

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5:35 p.m.

Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki has been scratched from Washington’s starting lineup for the deciding Game 7 of the World Series against the Houston Astros.

Suzuki missed the last three games while dealing with a hip flexor strain. The 36-year-old was initially listed in the starting lineup but was replaced again by Yan Gomes just under three hours before the first pitch.

Gomes will be behind the plate for Max Scherzer, the three-time Cy Young winner who was unable to make his start in Game 5 because of an irritated nerve near his neck. Scherzer is starting the finale after a cortisone shot.

Gomes was listed eighth, the same spot Suzuki was to bat.

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5:20 p.m.

Alex Bregman and Houston manager AJ Hinch spoke three times Tuesday night about the third baseman carrying his bat to first base after hitting a home run in the first inning.

Hinch said he talked to Bregman about it during the game, after the game at the stadium and on the phone after they both left the park following Houston’s 7-2 loss to the Nationals in Game 6.

Bregman apologized for the move after the game and Hinch shared what he told him about it.

“It’s just not how we do things and not something that was necessary,” Hinch said. “It was an emotional reaction. I love the way he plays and it doesn’t diminish what he brings to the table, but it was unnecessary.”

However, Hinch knows that Bregman learned his lesson from the miscue and wants him to put it in the past.

“After the game and into the night I wanted to make sure he realized he’s got to forgive himself before he moves on,” Hinch said. “We need to make sure it doesn’t ruin (Game 7). I don’t want it to carry over.”

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5:00 p.m.

Houston manager AJ Hinch said Game 6 starter Justin Verlander won’t be available for Game 7 against the Washington Nationals.

After taking the loss in Game 6 to fall to 0-6 in seven career World Series starts, Verlander said he would be available on Wednesday if Hinch needed him. But Hinch shut that down.

“All hands on deck means most hands on deck,” Hinch said.

While Verlander is out while Houston tries to win a second championship in three seasons, fellow ace Gerrit Cole could be used out of the bullpen.

Cole got the win in Game 5 on Sunday. Hinch said he’ll talk to him before the game about how he might use him on Wednesday.

“It would be in a limited capacity if I ask him to do anything,” Hinch said.

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3:45 p.m.

Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki is back in Washington’s lineup for the deciding Game 7 of the World Series against the Houston Astros.

Suzuki hadn’t played the last three games while dealing with a hip flexor strain. The 36-year-old, who homered in Game 2, will be behind the plate to catch for Max Scherzer.

Scherzer, the three-time Cy Young winner, was unable to make his start in Game 5 because of an irritated nerve near his neck. He is starting the finale after a cortisone shot.

Washington’s lineup was unchanged aside from Suzuki back in the lineup batting eighth, and center fielder Victor Robles dropping back to the No. 9 spot after catcher Yan Gomes hit in that spot in Game 6.

Houston used a familiar lineup against the right-hander, led off by 2017 World Series MVP George Springer.

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