Justin Duchscherer's battle with depression

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Yesterday Matthew made reference to Justin Duchscherer’s struggle with clinical depression.  ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick goes deep on it in this feature story:

Even as Duchscherer’s baseball career blossomed, his personal life
began to unravel. He separated from his wife, Michele, in April 2007,
and their four-year marriage officially ended in late 2008. The ordeal
dredged up unresolved issues from Duchscherer’s parents’ divorce when
he was 10, and led to feelings of guilt and shame.

The strain of
a ballplayer’s life didn’t help. Since he’s on the road eight months a
year and Evan lives in New Jersey with his mother, Duchscherer sees his
son sporadically. During the 2008 season, he was able to channel his
anguish over his failed marriage into his pitching, but he didn’t have
that luxury this year. When the A’s broke camp in April, Duchscherer
stayed behind in Arizona to focus on his rehab. The more time he spent
alone, the more he missed Evan and dwelled on his shortcomings as a
husband and a father.

Thankfully it looks like Duchscherer is turning the corner and retaking control of his life and career. The story, however, is a great read and a poignant reminder of the kinds of pressures ballplayers face, almost always beyond the notice of the common fan.

Rakuten Golden Eagles sign Jabari Blash

Jabari Blash
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Former Angels outfielder Jabari Blash has signed a one-year deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball, the team announced Friday. Per the Japan Times, the deal is said to be worth around $1.06 million. Blash was released from his contract with the Angels at the end of November.

The 29-year-old outfielder has had a rough go of it in the majors, where he failed to duplicate the promising results he delivered in the minors. While he consistently batted above .250 with 20-30 home runs per season at the Double- and Triple-A level, he petered out in back-to-back gigs with the Padres and Angels and slumped toward a .103/.200/.128 finish across 45 PA for Anaheim in 2018.

The hope, of course, is that the environment in NPB will help him get a better handle on his issues at the plate — in a best case scenario, resulting in a full-scale transformation that could make him more marketable to MLB teams in the future. To that end, Blash expects to be utilized as a cleanup batter in the Eagles’ lineup and will focus on assisting the club as they make a run toward the Japan Series.