BY DANA WAKIJIFOXSPORTSDETROIT
PORT LUCIE, Fla. -- While Anibal Sanchez was pitching at Joker Marchant Stadium on Saturday against the New York Yankees, Max Scherzer got his work in on a back field.
Scherzer pitched against the Houston Astros' Single-A affiliate at the same time, allowing no runs on one hit. He walked two and struck out eight.
"Pretty good," Scherzer said of his outing. "Obviously, I'm building up my arm strength and now. I was at 85 pitches, so physically I'm in a spot, still tweaking throughout all my off-speed stuff.
"Didn't feel it was quite as sharp as it needed to be (Saturday) where I'm at in spring training. I did finish strong and threw some good sliders at the end. I am making strides to be ready for the season."
Manager Jim Leyland hasn't announced the rotation order after Justin Verlander, who is the Opening Day starter April 1 in Minnesota. But Scherzer is more concerned about getting himself ready than when he'll make his first start of the season.
"I wanted to have a better slider (Saturday)," Scherzer said. "I didn't feel like it was as good when I pitched with it in Washington.
"I thought I threw some good ones but I also thought I hung a few, so I wanted to try to make strides further with that pitch. I was able, at the end, to make that stride.
Scherzer doesn't need much work on his fastball, which can reach 97-98 miles per hour when he wants to.
"You just focus on location, getting that ready," Scherzer said. "You want to be able to throw to both sides of the plate, especially when you're behind in the count and you can still pitch with your fastball.
"That's always a big thing for me. If I'm able to do that, that's when I start worrying about my off-speed pitches because that's what makes me the pitcher I am."
In three starts this spring, Scherzer is 0-0 with an 0.93 ERA and matching 0.93 WHIP. He has struck out 11 and walked four.
With a week to go and one more spring start before breaking camp, Scherzer said he's just working on the little things.
"It's just fine-tuning everything you want to do, all the little executions throughout the whole game," Scherzer said. "That's where you start getting into what makes you ready for the regular season."