Duchscherer's sore left hip feeling better
O's righty throws from 90 feet Sunday with 'no problem'
SARASOTA, Fla. -- After a morning in which Justin Duchscherer seemed as if his season was once again on the brink of ending, the 33-year-old right-hander was remarkably more upbeat just before noon Sunday after a workout in which he said he threw "90 feet, no problem."
"It felt fine," said Duchscherer, who had soreness in his left hip earlier in the day. "It's a situation where we'll have to treat symptomatically."
The news comes as a huge sigh of relief to Orioles management, considering manager Buck Showalter had said on Saturday that the 6-foot-3 righty would be shut down for 48 hours.
"Justin looks more upbeat, which is a good thing," Showalter said.
Duchscherer created some stress when he talked extensively early Sunday morning about his point of contention with the ailment.
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"Of course, I'm concerned considering the different surgeries I've been through," Duchscherer had said before he spent time during workouts tossing from 90 feet. "It's a 10 out of 10 on the frustration level."
The two-time All-Star, who has had two surgeries on his right hip and one on his left, was acquired in the offseason as a veteran piece for the rotation. Despite having had his 2010 season end in June with surgery on the left hip, Duchscherer said his health was the best "in probably five years" during a February conference call shortly after the former A's pitcher signed a one-year deal.
After the flare-up in his hip Saturday, Duchscherer sounded as if the recent pain might be a cause for alarm.
"There's a little residual pain there and I don't want to push it," said Duchscherer. "I've been through it three times, so I know when I need to shut it down and this is the time to do so."
A former 10-game winner, Duchscherer had his 2010 campaign in Oakland cut short, making just five starts before undergoing his left hip surgery, which involved shaving down some of the bone to make room for cartilage. He missed nearly all of the '09 season after undergoing an arthroscopic procedure on his right elbow and being diagnosed with depression, but given that he has spent the winter auditioning for teams, Duchscherer is actually ahead of his typical offseason program.
Duchscherer's deal, made official in early February after a rigorous two-day physical, is for a base salary of $700,000 that will increase to $1.1 million if he makes the team. He can earn up to $4.5 million if he stays healthy and productive, which the right-hander is confident he can be.
Duchscherer was scheduled to pitch on Wednesday in Clearwater, Fla., against the Phillies, but all signs point to him not being able to make the outing.
"I'm not even thinking about that right now," Duchscherer said. "I'll wait until [Monday] to see how it feels."
Duchscherer has had his fair share of ailments to contend with throughout his eight-year career, most notably a 19-month absence from the game from August 2008 to April 2010. During the '09 season, he was diagnosed with clinical depression and his return was met with much fanfare.
"If I make it a bigger deal than it really is, all that's going to do is add pressure to me," Duchscherer told MLB FanHouse in 2010. "I experienced over the last few years that adding pressure to myself is not useful."
Duchscherer was once considered one of the top prospects in the game coming out of Coronado High School in Lubbock, Texas. He made the All-Star team in 2005, as a relief pitcher, and again in '08, as a starter, and his career ERA of 3.13 ranks him among baseball's best.
He compiled a 33-25 record with 347 strikeouts with the Rangers and A's, but made just five starts last season before being derailed by surgery.
Bird bits: Derrek Lee and Brian Roberts both looked sharp during batting practice before Sunday's intrasquad scrimmage. Lee, who felt discomfort in his surgically repaired right thumb on Saturday, resumed taking part in batting a day after just practicing in the field.
Roberts participated in hitting against live pitching for the second consecutive day after being diagnosed with muscle spasms in his neck following Tuesday's practice.
"Robby looked good out there," Showalter said. "Derrek said he didn't feel any discomfort before [he took batting practice]. He was able to turn it loose today."
Lee and Roberts were not scheduled to play in the intrasquad scrimmage.
In the scrimmage, slugger Mark Reynolds hit a grand slam in the first inning off Minor League right-hander Chorye Spoone.
Reynolds' blast, which sailed over the 366-foot sign in left-center, came on a 1-2 changeup from Spoone on the outside part of the plate.
Chris Girandola is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.