LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) - Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland knew one of his starting pitchers was going to get rocked at some point this spring. He said it was just a matter of time.
That time was Tuesday for Max Scherzer.
Scherzer got knocked around in the Tigers' 9-5 loss to the Florida Marlins, allowing five runs and eight hits over 2 1-3 innings.
``I just wasn't able to get it done,' he said. ``There were a lot of bloops, but I feel like I am where I need to be right now. I am working on some things but I'll be ready soon. Something was just out of whack today.'
Scherzer started slowly last season and was sent to Triple-A Toledo for two weeks in May. The 26-year-old right-hander finished with a 12-11 record and a 3.50 ERA in 31 starts, growing stronger as the year rolled along.
``He just didn't have his stuff today,' Leyland said. ``He's a very good pitcher and he couldn't find his spots. I am not worried.'
Leyland said he knew one of his starters was going to get hit hard eventually. Rick Porcello and Justin Verlander haven't allowed a run all spring and Phil Coke and Brad Penny have allowed only four combined in 17 1-3 innings.
Leyland pulled Scherzer with one out in the third and said it was simply a matter of reaching his pitch count.
``It had nothing to do with his effort. He just wasn't finding his spots and we had a strict count on him,' he said. ``Everything is fine. He is definitely in our rotation on opening day.'
The Tigers could be without reliever Joel Zumaya on opening day. The hard-throwing Zumaya is undergoing tests on his right elbow and forearm where he has been experiencing soreness.
Trainer Kevin Rand said no major structural damage has been found. He said the club was being aggressive in trying to find out the problems with Zumaya's arm and that he wouldn't pick up a baseball until his arm was perfect.
Zumaya was 2-1 with a 2.58 ERA in 31 games for the Tigers last season before a shoulder injury ended his season. He has been on the disabled list every season since 2007.
Rand said Zumaya was ``in jeopardy' of not being ready for opening day and the team is being realistic in the timeline for his recovery.
Leyland didn't want to comment on Zumaya's condition.
Florida brought a squad of mostly minor leaguers and plenty of non-roster players. Alex Sanabia was scratched from the start after feeling some soreness in his right elbow, and non-roster invitee Elih Villanueva pitched three shutout innings.
Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez said he was impressed by center fielder Dewayne Wise, who went 1 for 2 with a walk.
``I like Wise a lot,' Rodriguez said. ``He can hit when he gets his pitches and when he makes contact, it's going somewhere.'
Highly touted prospect Matt Dominguez also homered for Florida.
NOTES: Leyland said Ryan Raburn already has won a spot on the team even though there is a logjam in the outfield. Raburn is batting .333 this spring. ... Tigers LHP Daniel Schlereth threw off the mound. He is trying to recover from an injured hamstring ... Leyland said the battle for second base would go down to the wire between Will Rhymes and Scott Sizemore. That doesn't include Carlos Guillen, who is recovering from left knee surgery.
The Associated Press News Service
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