Texas Rangers right-hander Max Scherzer made his season debut on Sunday afternoon, delivering six shutout innings against the Kansas City Royals (GameTracker). He surrendered just one hit, a double to MJ Melendez in the fifth to break up the no-hitter, and no walks while striking out four of the 16 batters he faced. Scherzer's final strikeout of the afternoon tied him for 11th place all-time with Hall of Fame right-hander Greg Maddux. (Maddux's brother, Mike, fittingly serves as Scherzer's pitching coach with the Rangers.)

Scherzer, 40 come July 27, had been sidelined by offseason back surgery. He had also dealt with a thumb issue during his minor-league rehab stint. Nevertheless, he affirmed that he was prepared to return to action."I'm ready to get back out there," he told reporters after last weekend's rehab start. "... I'm just trying to rejoin the rotation wherever they want to reinsert me."

According to Statcast, Scherzer averaged 92.9 mph on his four-seam fastball on Sunday. That's about 0.8 mph below last season's norm. Scherzer generated seven swinging strikes against the Royals, with three of those coming on his heater and another three on his trademark slider.

Scherzer was acquired by the Rangers last trade deadline in a trade with the Mets for infielder Luisangel Acuña. He subsequently started eight times for the Rangers during the regular season, compiling a 3.20 ERA (133 ERA+) and a 3.53 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Scherzer then suffered a forearm injury that threatened his ability to partake in Texas' playoff series. He found a way back, however, and ended up pitching three times as part of the Rangers' World Series title run. 

Scherzer's start on Sunday counts as the 449th of his big-league career. He entered Sunday with career marks that include a 3.15 ERA (134 ERA+) and a 4.51 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He's an eight-time All-Star and a three-time Cy Young Award winner.