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The Texas Rangers' three-time Cy Young winner Max Scherzer will be activated off the injured list and make his 2024 debut on Sunday against the Kansas City Royals, Scherzer on Saturday told reporters, including's Kennedi Landry. Scherzer had offseason back surgery and has not pitched this season. He also dealt with a thumb issue during his minor-league rehab assignment.

"I'm ready to get back out there," Scherzer said following his rehab start this past Saturday (via the Associated Press). "... I'm just trying to rejoin the rotation wherever they want to reinsert me."

Scherzer, 40 next month, made a 2 1/3-inning rehab start on April 24, before the thumb issue popped up. He returned to the mound earlier this month and threw four innings and 53 pitches in a rehab game on June 9, and 4 2/3 innings and 79 pitches in another rehab game on June 15. That puts Scherzer in position to throw 90 or so pitches Saturday.

The Rangers were hit hard by pitching injuries earlier this season and were scrambling for arms at one point. They have had eight different pitchers make at least three starts, fewer than only the Oakland Athletics and Miami Marlins, though things are coming together now. Here is the Texas rotation depth chart:

  1. RHP Jacob deGrom (rehabbing from Tommy John surgery)
  2. RHP Nathan Eovaldi
  3. RHP Max Scherzer (will make 2024 debut Saturday)
  4. RHP Jon Gray
  5. RHP Tyler Mahle (rehabbing from Tommy John surgery)
  6. RHP Michael Lorenzen
  7. RHP Dane Dunning
  8. LHP Andrew Heaney
  9. LHP Cody Bradford (out with back and rib injury) 

Heaney was demoted to the bullpen briefly last month and could move back into a relief role to make room for Scherzer. Also, deGrom threw 15 pitches off a mound earlier this week. It was his first time throwing off a mound as part of his rehab. He remains on track for a return later this season, possibly not until September.

Acquired from the New York Mets at last year's deadline, Scherzer made eight starts with a 3.20 ERA for the Rangers late last year before going down with a forearm issue. He returned ahead of schedule in the postseason and had a 6.52 ERA in three abbreviated starts. Texas did win the World Series, of course.

The Rangers are a disappointing 35-40 this season going into Saturday's slate. They are 7-1/2 games back in the AL West and 5-1/2 games behind the third wild-card spot. Texas has to figure out their offense next. They are averaging only 4.25 runs per game, below the 4.36 MLB average.