By Sam Bush

Nats ace Max Scherzer looks like he’s ready to ring the bell.

He struck out nine over four innings in yesterday’ intrasquad game.

Scherzer fanned four consecutive batters across the second and third, both 1-2-3 innings. He was slated to throw 60 pitches, and he exceeded the count by seven.

“We all know Max,” manager Dave Martinez said. “He’s an unbelievable competitor, and he’s going to bring it every day. I’ve said over and over again — even the days he doesn’t pitch, he brings it every day.”

In a season with many uncertainties, Austin Voth knows this: If he is named the Nationals’ fifth starting pitcher, he will be ready for a spot in the rotation.

“I’ve been preparing for this role the whole offseason down in Florida,” Voth said. “I haven’t stopped preparing for it. I’m ready if I get the role. It’s something that I’m ready for. I’m ready to take it on.”

Voth and Erick Fedde are contenders to fill out the Nats’ starting five. Last season, they shared the job with fellow right-hander Joe Ross, who was a strong candidate before electing not to play in 2020. Voth started Monday’s intrasquad action and threw three innings opposite Scherzer.

“I like him,” Martinez said. “His velo’s good. He’s anywhere from 91 to 94 [mph]. He’s got a good command. He knows what he wants to do when he’s out there. He looked good for his first outing.”

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