The A’s in 2010 will have to rely on strong defense and exceptional pitching if they are to crawl out the AL West cellar. Ben Sheets headlines a starting rotation that also includes Justin Duchscherer, Dallas Braden, Brett Anderson and Trevor Cahill. However, Justin Duchscherer, a two-time All-Star, has recently been at odds with A’s manager, Bob Geren.
Geren was hired after the A’s fired Ken Macha, who led the team to the ALCS in 2006. Geren, a former big-league catcher, is a personal friend of A’s GM, Billy Beane. Under Geren, the A’s have finished under .500 in each of the last three seasons. He is openly criticized among fans in Oakland about his frequent lineup tweaks, and his happy-go-lucky attitude–despite his team’s misfortunes.
More recently, the A’s manger said that he did not expect Duchscherer, who is returning from a hip injury, to be ready by the start of the season. Duchscherer, however, felt differently. According to Duchscherer, working up to throw 100 pitches isn’t his goal. Instead, he will need to work up to just 75 pitches in order to be game ready come Opening Day.
Upon reading this little “spat” I had to agree with Duchscherer. I mean, he knows his body and limitations. He knows whether or not his body will hold up throughout Spring Training. Also, 75 pitches seems very realistic. Working up to that total shouldn’t be a problem. No one expects to go out into Opening Day and throw a complete game. The whole idea is to ease yourself into the season—not to come running out of the gates and get yourself injured.
Duchscherer, if healthy provides another veteran presence in a young, but talented starting rotation. In 2008, Duchscherer was the A’s lone All-Star, and finished the season with a 10-8 record along with a 2.54 ERA. Last season, however, Duchscherer battled injuries and clinical depression.
If he proves to be healthy this year, Duchscherer should be able to provide a lot of leadership for the A’s young hurlers. So, let’s hope Duchscherer is right, and not Geren…