Five teams have watched Justin Duchscherer throw this winter, and the Orioles will be the sixth when Duchscherer throws a bullpen session for the club on Friday. The right-hander tells MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli that his choice will likely hinge on whichever team gives him a chance to start games next season.
"I just don't feel like with the injuries I've had, I don't think that would be beneficial for my career to be [a reliever] for a team," said Duchscherer. "For me it's black and white. I want to start, that's the whole mindset I have. I haven't even thought of being a reliever....I want a team that's going to be honest with me and say, 'If you're healthy, you are going to start.'"
After missing the entire 2009 season due to an elbow injury, Duchscherer pitched just 28 innings for Oakland last year before undergoing hip surgery. With this injury history and his fairly limited starting experience (just 32 of his 224 career Major League games have been starts), a bullpen stint wouldn't be out of the question, but Duchscherer has drawn interest from enough teams that it appears he'll find a starting spot somewhere.
Duchscherer is two weeks ahead of his usual offseason training schedule due to his abbreviated season last year, and he described his health as "pretty much 100 percent."
"I'm doing [these bullpens] as a precaution, so I know how I feel," the right-hander said. "And so far everything has gone good."
The Athletics, Pirates, Red Sox and Yankees have all shown some interest in the right-hander this winter. Duchscherer dismissed the idea that his past issues with depression would keep him from playing in the pressurized New York market. Over 34% of MLBTR readers polled feel that Duchscherer is the best free agent starter still on the market.