Justin Duchscherer’s depression

Justin Duchscherer’s (“The Duke Of Hurl”) agent, Damon Lapa, said Tuesday that the free agent right-hander has made excellent progress with his clinical depression. Lapa described Duchscherer as “A happier and healthier person,” and said he’s working hard toward readying himself for the 2010 season. He’s reportedly drawing a good deal of interest around the league. Duchscherer had a breakout year in 2008 (10–8, 2.54 ERA) after moving from the bullpen to the Oakland rotation but missed all of this season with elbow and hip injuries. He made three rehab starts in the minors but was held out of his last two for what the team said was his “nonbaseball-related issue.”

The Duke of Hurt

Duchscherer spent most of the 2007 season on the disabled list with an injured right hip that required season-ending surgery. He returned to the starting rotation for the A’s in 2008 then spent about three weeks on the disabled list with an inflamed biceps in April. Back in the rotation he was outstanding and, at one point, led the major leagues in ERA. He went 10-8 with a 2.54 ERA and 1.00 WHIP in 2008 and was selected to the 2008 MLB All Star Game at Yankee Stadium in New York. He throws a cutter in the mid-80s, 4-seam fastball (87-89 mph), 12-6 curveball, 2-seam fastball, and a changeup. After being diagnosed with clinical depression “Duke” missed the remainder of the 2009 season and didn’t throw a pitch for the A’s in 2009. Though lined up for a debut in late August, he was scratched because of his depression.

Jerry Crasnick reported on ESPN’s website that Oakland re-signed Justin Duchscherer to a one-year guaranteed contract that could be worth as much as $5.5 million if Duchscherer achieves all of his incentives. The righty missed last season in its entirety after elbow surgery and treatment for clinical depression.

Duchscherer twirled a fantastic 2008 campaign as the ace of the A’s staff, keeping runners off the bases and runs off the board in his first full season as a starter with the club. With a rotation already crowded with young talent, Oakland may send the veteran righty back to the pen, where he pitched successfully between 2004-06.