Duchscherer: I Can Play In New York

I have pushed for the Yankees to acquire Justin Duchscherer to solidify the back of their rotation on numerous occasions. A few weeks ago, Jerry Crasnick reported that the Yankees were pursuing Duchscherer, but nothing seemed to come of it. As I said at the time, Duch is likely the most talented of the pitchers currently on the market, but has some red flags surrounding him:

The problem with Duke is a variety of health issues that make it difficult to project his performance going forward. He missed time in 2007 due to a hip issue, had some nagging injuries hamper him in 2008, lost the entire 2009 due to an elbow problem, and missed a large chunk of 2010 due to a problem with his other hip. Additionally, he has struggled with depression issues, and he has Irritable Bowel Syndrome, which he feels is exacerbated by the uneven schedule that comes with being in the bullpen. Taken together, the case for Duchscherer reads much like the case for many of the low risk, high reward guys available at this time of the year. When he has pitched, he has been quite successful, but he has had trouble staying on the field.

The depression issues have led some to question his ability to handle New York, and Britt Ghiroli asked him about that issue yesterday. He said:

Free agent Justin Duchscherer, considered one of the best starting pitchers still on the market, said Tuesday evening that physically he feels “pretty much 100 percent” and shot down the notion that his previous depression issues would prevent him from playing in New York.

“I find it funny that people say I can’t pitch in that environment, but I’ve pitched in New York before,” he said. “As far as my mind, I have no problem being anywhere. Physically it’s a matter of what’s the best situation for me.”

He went on to discuss his health and contended that he is “pretty much 100 percent.” I recommend reading the rest of the article. Duch is very honest about his injuries, and rules out going back to the bullpen in 2011. If he signs in New York, he is going to want to start. Hopefully, the Yankees bring him in and give him a shot to seize the 4th or 5th starter slot, as he certainly passes the “better than Mitre” test.

2 thoughts on “Duchscherer: I Can Play In New York

  1. T.O. Chris

    After reading his comments yesterday I don’t think there is a chance we sign him… He seems to be looking for a starting gig if he is healthy and he won’t consider the pen so I really don’t see him coming here to “compete” for a starting job knowing that the fall back is the bullpen when he could go somewhere with a guarantee to just have the spot and not have to compete or go to the pen.

    I understand he is likely to win any competition he does compete in with Nova and Mitre but at the same time he specifically stated that if he is healthy he wants to be promised the starting job at no point in the interview did I read he would be OK competing for said job with a bullpen spot as consolation prize because he believes the uncertainty of the pen will further aggravate his IBS.

    When people say things like “I have pitched in New York before” and they are talking about being a visiting player coming in for 1 game in response to the “he can’t handle New York” talk it usually makes me think he can’t handle New York because he doesn’t understand that no one is talking about what he does on the field, they are talking about how he deals with what he does on the field with all the reporters surrounding him 24/7 trying to skewer you on the front or back page. It’s not about “playing” in New York it’s about living with the pressure pitching as a New York pitcher brings you and that is honestly not something you know until after you sign the contract a road game here and there won’t prepare you for the media storm that comes from being a Yankee or Met.

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