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post #1 of 1 (permalink) Old 03-29-2009, 02:24 PM Thread Starter
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Scherzer to start season on DL

Not needing fifth starter until April 14, D-backs let righty rest.

Max Scherzer was given a cortisone shot in his right shoulder in January to combat soreness.

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Max Scherzer was outstanding against the Indians on Saturday in what will likely be his final Cactus League appearance of the spring.

The right-hander was initially scheduled to pitch April 2 against the Rockies, but the D-backs announced Saturday that the start will instead go to Travis Blackley.

With an off-day four days after the April 6 regular-season opener, the D-backs will not need their fifth starter -- Scherzer -- until April 14. With that in mind and given the fact that he got a late start in camp due to a January cortisone shot to combat shoulder soreness, Scherzer is all but certain to start the year on the disabled list.

While a stint on the disabled list is 15 days, a player can be added to the DL retroactively, so long as he does not appear in a game in which fans are charged admission. That means Scherzer will pitch in games at the team's Minor League complex.

As long as he does that, Scherzer will be eligible to come off the DL on April 12.

"That's fine with me," Scherzer said. "Whenever they want me to pitch, I'll be ready."

Scherzer certainly seemed ready on Saturday as he allowed just one run on four hits over five innings. He was scheduled to go four innings, but was at just 50 pitches at that point, so Arizona decided to let him start the fifth, and he finished with 61 pitches.

"He's definitely on his way now," D-backs manager Bob Melvin said.

The most impressive part of the outing was how efficient he was with his pitches, something the club would love to see him carry over into the regular season.

"I think he learned something today," Melvin said.

Scherzer said he was more consistent with his slider and worked on throwing it to lefties, which would give him another weapon against them.

"It was the best I've thrown so far in spring," Scherzer said. "It was really the first-pitch strikes, because it allowed me to use all my pitches then."

With Scherzer set to start the year on the DL, the team faces some interesting roster decisions.

First, the D-backs must decide whether to keep 12 pitchers and 13 position players or just 11 pitchers until Scherzer is activated.

"We'll probably have to decide that in the next handful of days," Arizona GM Josh Byrnes said.

That's important because that will determine whether there are four spots left to be filled in the bullpen or just three.

Pitchers still in camp competing for those spots include Blackley, Billy Buckner, Juan Gutierrez, Bobby Korecky, Yusmeiro Petit, Leo Rosales and Doug Slaten.

Blackley, Gutierrez and Petit are out of Minor League options, which certainly factors into the decision, though it seems Petit has all but sewn up a spot by compiling a 1.13 ERA through Saturday's game.

After Petit, it seems the race for the other two or three spots is pretty wide open.

"I think Petit, since we've had him, has done well in whatever role we've asked him to pitch in," Byrnes said. "Both this spring and the last couple years, he's earned the right to be a very strong candidate. The others -- the out of options guys -- Gutierrez and Blackley, certainly have been intriguing or impressive at times. I think guys like Slaten, Rosales, Buckner, Korecky, have also done some positive things. Slaten and Buckner, in particular, have been sharp of late."

Scherzer to start season on DL | dbacks.com: News


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