Chan Ho Park wants to start again, but he should stick to relieving

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This morning Craig discussed the continued uncertainty surrounding whether Joba Chamberlain will start or relieve for the Yankees, but he’s not the only pitcher unclear about his role for 2010.
Philadelphia is interested in re-signing Chan Ho Park as a reliever after he thrived in that role this season, but the 36-year-old free agent and longtime starter is also being offered rotation spots elsewhere.
“I want to be a starter again,” Park told the Korea Times. “Being a starter is more attractive for me, because I can take over a whole game.” Meanwhile, agent Jeff Borris explained that “we’re really not shutting the door on any possibilities right now” while noting that multiple teams have expressed interest in Park for both roles.
If he truly wants to be a full-time starter again then Park should sign with a team willing to hand him a rotation spot no questions asked, because this will likely be his last multi-year contract and final chance to dictate his role. However, if he’s interested in picking the role in which he’s actually most likely to have success there’s no question that he should stick to the bullpen.
In his last 34 starts–which is basically equal to one full season in a rotation–Park has gone 9-9 with a 5.05 ERA in 194.1 innings. During that same time period Park made 91 relief appearances, posting a 3.45 ERA in 125 innings. He hasn’t had an ERA below 4.80 during any season with double-digit starts since way back in 2001, but Park had a 2.52 ERA out of the Phillies’ bullpen this season and posted a 3.84 mark as a reliever last year. Stick to relieving, Chan Ho, you’re really good at it.

Clayton Kershaw might return to the Dodgers’ rotation next week

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Dodgers southpaw Clayton Kershaw is nearing his return to the mound, according to club manager Dave Roberts. Both Kershaw (left biceps tendinitis) and fellow lefty Rich Hill (left middle finger blister) are scheduled to toss simulated games on Saturday; depending on the outcome, Roberts says Kershaw could forgo a minor league assignment and slot back into the rotation by Thursday.

Kershaw, 30, was diagnosed with biceps tendinitis as the team closed out their Mexico Series at the start of the month. He has not made a start in several weeks, but was finally able to resume throwing on Sunday and managed to get through two successful bullpen sessions. Though Dodgers’ ace hasn’t been completely injury-free over his 11-year career in the majors, this is the first significant issue he’s had with his pitching arm so far. The team is expected to take every precaution with the lefty, and will likely limit him to just four innings during Saturday’s simulated game.

Prior to his injury, Kershaw was working on another dominant run with the club, sporting a 2.86 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 9.8 SO/9 through his first 44 innings of the season. While Kershaw, Hill and left-handed starter Hyun-Jin Ryu served their respective terms on the disabled list this month, the Dodgers utilized a combination of relievers Ross Stripling and Brock Stewart, both of whom impressed during their limited time in the rotation.