Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Justin Duchscherer's Spot in the Rotation "In Peril"

Although the Baltimore Sun reported that the Oriole got "good news" on the injury front, it actually seemed to be neutral at best. Buck Showalter said that Justin Duchscherer's chances of making the Opening Day roster were "in peril" and although they found nothing new from Duchschere's MRA yesterday, I'm not sure that's necessarily good news.

...(Brian Roberts and) Duchscherer, still struggling with his surgically repaired left hip, have seemingly been alternating good weeks and bad weeks all spring, and they'll remain shut down from extensive baseball activities for the next couple of days.

"With [Duchscherer] and Robby, there wasn't anything new going on there, but that doesn't mean everything is fine," Showalter said. "There are still some persistent things that have been a challenge for both of them."

So we should probably count Duch out for now, especially since before the MRA he told reporters that his hip "felt like it did last year before (he) had to have it operated on."

But that's not an altogether bad thing. I liked the Duchscherer signing for depth but I am beginning to believe that the team will be better off with Chris Tillman in that 5th spot to start the season anyway.

It was looking more and more like Jake Arrieta was going to win the battle for the final spot in the rotation this spring and that Tillman would be returned to Norfolk. But looking at Tillman 's AAA numbers show that there is little need for him to go back.

Lev    W  L W-L%  ERA  G CG SHO    IP   H HR BB  SO  WHIP HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
AAA   19 13 .594 3.06 39  2   2 218.0 205 15 56 193 1.197  0.6  2.3  8.0  3.45

What else does the guy need to do down there? I keep hearing that Tillman should not be handed the job and he should heave to "earn" it. Putting together numbers like that in AAA at age 21 and 22 is more than enough to earn a spot in the rotation.

The Orioles need to put Tillman in the rotation and let him sink or swim. He needs MLB innings at this point, there is nothing left for him to prove in the minors.

And if his shot comes because of a Justin Duchscherer injury, so be it.

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