It’s looking more and more like Justin Duchscherer isn’t going to be ready for action when the Orioles open their regular season.
According to Britt Ghiroli of MLB.com, “The Duke of Hurl” had to be scratched from a scheduled intrasquad game appearance Sunday due to discomfort in his surgically-repaired left hip. He won’t throw on the side either.
Orioles skipper Buck Schowalter acknowledged after the the scratching that Duchscherer probably isn’t going to be able to fit in the 20 or so innings that he needs to be physically prepared for the role of a starter. He’s made only a two-inning appearance thus far and the O’s apparently don’t want to convert him back to a reliever.
Baltimore signed the right-hander to a one-year, $700,000 contract in late January. He hasn’t been fully healthy in a while, but Duchscherer still carries a shiny 3.13 career ERA and 1.14 career WHIP.
If it were up to him, Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson would finish the remainder of his career in Toronto. In fact, he’d be “ticked pink” if the club decided to sign him to a long-term deal. Whether the Blue Jays share that sentiment is still unclear, as Donaldson said Saturday that the team has yet to engage his agent in extension talks.
“I’ve said that I wanted to be here,” he told MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm. “That’s pretty much all I can say. I’m not the one who makes the decisions, nor would I try to put them in the position to do that. Like I said, I believe the situation will become more fluid when the time is right.”
That doesn’t necessarily mean an extension is out of the question. The Blue Jays reached an unprecedented one-year, $23 million agreement with the three-time All-Star in arbitration, and have been reticent to field trade offers despite continued interest from the Cardinals this winter.
Donaldson, 32, is poised to enter his eighth season in the majors and fourth with the Blue Jays. In 2017, he batted .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs and a .944 OPS in 496 plate appearances, ranking sixth among all major league third baseman with 5.0 fWAR. He’s scheduled to enter free agency following the 2018 season.