Washington Nationals’ Max Scherzer poses for a photograph before a spring training baseball workout in West Palm Beach, Fla. AP NEWSWIRE

Washington Nationals’ Max Scherzer poses for a photograph before a spring training baseball workout in West Palm Beach, Fla. AP NEWSWIRE

(AP) — NL Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer probably will miss the Washington Nationals’ opener against Miami on April 3 because of a stress fracture in his right ring finger.

The stress fracture had caused Scherzer to change the grip on his fastball, placing three fingers on top of the ball instead of two, but he went back to his old grip Thursday during his first game action this year, a three-inning stint in a minor league exhibition against New York Mets’ Triple-A players.

“That’s the really good news today,” said Scherzer, who struck out five. “It’s good to be back to the normal grip. From here on out, I’ll be obviously progressing that way. Now I’m dialing it in, trying to hit locations and really trying to pitch with the fastball again. Now I feel back.”

Scherzer threw 35 of 54 pitches for strikes, mixing in some three-fingered fastballs. He had two quick innings but struggled with his control in the second.

Pitching coach Mike Maddux said Scherzer will start for the Nationals on Wednesday against St. Louis.

“We’ll take the training wheels off,” Maddux said.

Scherzer said he will get three more starts before season and expects to break camp with the big league club.

“I should be progressing at a pretty good clip now to allow myself to be able to find a way to start the regular season,” Scherzer said.

A 32-year-old right-hander, Scherzer was 20-7 last season.

Manager Dusty Baker said of Scherzer’s opening-day availability: “At this point, probably no.”

MAKING HIS WAY BACK

Toronto Blue Jays reliever T.J. House is slowly increasing his physical activity, almost a week after he was hit on the head by a line drive during a spring training game.

House was cleared to run on a treadmill for five minutes Thursday, a day after he rode a stationary bike for seven minutes.

“It’s just a slow progression,” House said. “There’s not really a timetable right now. It’s day to day. If it’s good, you continue moving forward. Just excited to be kind of being active again, sweating a little bit.”

House was taken off the field in an ambulance March 10 after getting struck in the ninth inning of a game against the Detroit Tigers. He was hospitalized overnight, then released.

“Feeling good,” House said. “Surprisingly, I didn’t really have much of a problem. I walked out of the hospital the next day. The third day, I was a little sore. After that I got some good sleep. I think I needed that.”


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