Scherzer was replaced on the National League roster by Cincinnati Reds right-hander Sonny Gray late Saturday night. At the time, it was widely assumed that the move was made because he had pitched on Saturday, and thus wouldn't be available to NL manager Dave Roberts.
But Scherzer, a seven-time All-Star, revealed that he's battled through a tight back recently, and felt it more prudent to rest up ahead of the second half.
"After the (June 30 start against the) Detroit (Tigers) I had some back tightness," Scherzer told reporters, according to Quinton Mayo of NBC Sports Washington. "It is probably not smart for me to pitch in the All-Star Game. Our season means so much more than the All-Star Game."
"It really couldn't happen at a better time, where I can get some rest on eight days now," he added, per Matthew Gutierrez of the Washington Post. "I need some rest right now to let this thing fully heal up so that I'm completely good to go for the second half."
Scherzer added that he does not consider the injury to be serious and expects to return to the mound next Sunday when the Nationals visit Philadelphia, according to MASN's Mark Zuckerman.
Although he won't pitch in the Midsummer Classic, Scherzer and his family will still attend the festivities in Cleveland.
The 34-year-old has been a huge part of the Nationals' recent resurgence and is quickly moving toward his fourth Cy Young award. Entering play Sunday, Scherzer leads all NL pitchers in strikeouts (181), K/9 rate (12.6), FIP (2.01), and innings pitched (129 1/3), while also sporting a 2.30 ERA and 0.98 WHIP. On Saturday, although bothered by the back issue, he still managed to strike out 11 batters in seven shutout innings.
Scherzer's decision to skip Tuesday's contest means that the Nationals will not have an on-field representative at this year's All-Star Game. The team's only other All-Star, third baseman Anthony Rendon, bowed out last week and will remain in Washington to receive treatment for lingering hamstring and quadriceps injuries, Zuckerman reports.