Would you move Duke to the pen?

Posted By on March 14, 2009 10:56 am

Justin Duchscherer is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Tuesday. If all goes perfectly the rest of the spring for him, that just gives him time to be in the rotation when the season starts, according to manager Bob Geren.

Because of his injury problems, there is some speculation that the A’s would move Duchscherer back to the bullpen. I don’t think I would do that, for a few reasons.

  1. He has gotten hurt in the bullpen, too. It’s easier to deal with an injured starter than an injured reliever because you know exactly what day you need him.
  2. Duchscherer is a good pitcher, and if I have a choice of a good pitcher throwing 150 innings or 75 innings, I’d take him for 150 innings. Even if he’s on the DL and only starts 20 times, he’s giving the team more innings than if he spends the whole year in the bullpen.
  3. Duchscherer doesn’t want to be a reliever. If you are on the fence about how to use a player, you should use him the way he prefers. He’ll be happier and therefore more productive.

We went through this with Rich Harden, remember? I think all three of the above reasons applied to Harden, which is why they didn’t do it with him either.

Before getting to our poll question, a couple more tidbits from this morning:

  • Eric Chavez is throwing today.
  • Orlando Cabrera is in the lineup at DH. He’ll play shortstop tomorrow. Nomar Garciaparra might make his debut as soon as Sunday, and probably by Monday at the latest. He’ll play third immediately.
  • Bobby Crosby said he thinks he’ll be ready to play second sometime this week.
  • Joey Devine is a week to 10 days away from appearing in another Cactus League game. Bob Geren said his plan is to get Devine in at least four more games before opening day.

Should the A's move Duchscherer to the 'pen?

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4 Responses to “Would you move Duke to the pen?”

  1. Oakland Sí says:

    I think one important difference between Harden and Duchscherer is that while Harden has never reallly been a reliever, Duchscherer has been an All Start reliever in the major leagues.

    I’m really unsure about what to do with Duchscherer. Of course, if he isn’t healthy he can’t do either — which has to be the greatest concern.

  2. Jeff Fletcher says:

    I just talked to someone about the possibility of Duke moving to the ‘pen and he told me it would not necessarily be a permanent move, but some way to get productivity out of while he’s building up his pitch-count to start. I suppose I like that better, but it still seems a little risky to me. The A’s did try that with Rich Harden and it didn’t work. Say Duke is two weeks away from being ready to start on opening day. Why not just have him make three starts at Triple A instead of risk putting him in unpredictable spots in major league games? You can’t do a rehab assignment in the majors.

  3. Oakland Sí says:

    I agree with you about rehabbing a starter. If Duke is healthy enough to pitch they should probably just get him ready to start. Actually, I’m less concerned about the A’s bullpen, which has some good arms and good options already.

  4. Brad Jensen says:

    I think they need to ascertain whether this irritation he keeps feeling is worse if he is pitching in short bursts with lots of frequency or whether its worse if he pitches every five days.

    At some point I think they are going to have to go in and find out what is going on in there.

    Another issue which often isn’t addressed is that relievers and starters condition differently during the offseason so it isn’t just simply saying someone is going to be a starter or reliever.

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