- The Washington Times - Friday, March 31, 2017

Friday’s scheduled exhibition game between the Nationals and the Boston Red Sox has been cancelled due to inclement weather and will not be rescheduled.

The Nationals will wrap-up their spring training schedule Saturday with an exhibition game against Boston at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. slated for 2 p.m.

Tanner Roark was expected to pitch Friday, with Max Scherzer on the mound Saturday. Manager Dusty Baker said Friday afternoon that a rainout wouldn’t impact the rotation order.

“No. No, probably not,” Baker said during his pregame press conference, which took place before the rainout was announced. “We’d like to play. Especially because Tanner needs to work and Max needs to work. But you don’t want to do anything to jeopardize the health of my players, too, so we’re at the mercy of the weather.”

Both pitchers have been slowed in the spring. Roark joined Team USA for a start in the World Baseball Classic, which moved him off his regular spring training workload. Roark threw just 12 1/3 innings with the Nationals this spring. The cancellation of Friday’s game means Roark will go 11 days in between starts. He last pitched in a game March 25.

Scherzer had to wait for the stress fracture in the second knuckle of his right ring finger to heal before he could begin pitching in games this spring. The 2016 National League Cy Young Award winner said he felt healthy and strong in his last appearance, which was March 27 against the Mets. Scherzer hit 97 mph on the radar gun that day and said he was pleased with the workload of five innings and 43 pitches, if not thrilled with his execution. Baker said Thursday the organization was thrilled to see Scherzer recover so quickly. They thought he could be out for a couple of weeks, at least, in April. Instead, he will be ready to make his first start.

If the weather is clear, Scherzer will be on the mound for Saturday’s exhibition game. That would be just the third start for Scherzer before the regular season. He has thrown only 9 2/3 innings total, thus far. Stephen Strasburg remains the starter for Opening Day on Monday, which is a 1:05 p.m. start against the Miami Marlins.

Baker spoke shortly after noon and, as he did, the patter of the rain hitting the stadium grew ever-louder. Less than two hours later, the game was called off.

• Nora Princiotti can be reached at nprinciotti@washingtontimes.com.

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