Duchscherer hopes to be ready by Opening Day

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duchscherer.jpgJustin Duchscherer didn’t throw a pitch last season and is making his way back from a complex procedure that burned the nerve endings around his
sacroiliac joint.  And yet, according to the San Francisco Chronicle’s John Shea, the right-hander is still optimistic about being fully healthy for baseball’s opening week.

“The Duke of Hurl” will throw off a mound for the first time this week.  He’s hoping to lift his pitch count to 75 by the end of spring.

“The way I feel about my ability to compete, if I can throw 75 pitches
in a game here, when it’s time to turn the lights on for the season to
start, I can go 100,” said the righty.

Duchscherer, 32, was 10-8 with a 2.54 ERA and 1.00 WHIP back in 2008, his first full season as a starter.  If he can get back to what worked two years ago, it could be an interesting summer in Oakland.  Same goes for veteran right-hander Ben Sheets.

Dodgers sign OF Jason Heyward to minor league deal

Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports
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LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Dodgers signed outfielder Jason Heyward to a minor league deal and invited him to spring training.

The 33-year-old was released by the Chicago Cubs earlier this offseason.

Heyward, who was injured at times last season, put up the worst offensive numbers of his career, batting .204 and with 10 RBIs and one home run in 137 plate appearances. However, he’s a valuable defender in the outfield.

The deal reunites Heyward with first baseman Freddie Freeman. They came up through the Atlanta Braves system and have remained friends ever since.

Heyward was a leader in the Cubs’ clubhouse, helping them win the 2016 World Series.