Justin Duchscherer is “pretty much 100 percent” healthy and wants to start

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Justin Duchscherer missed all of 2009 and most of 2010 following hip and elbow surgeries, but the oft-injured right-hander told Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com that he’s “pretty much 100 percent” healthy.

According to Ghiroli he’s held private workouts for at least five teams, and at various points this offseason Duchscherer has been linked to the Red Sox, Yankees, and Orioles.

All but 32 of his 224 career appearances have come out of the bullpen, but Duchscherer made it very clear that he’s not interested in relieving, saying: “I just don’t feel like, with the injuries I’ve had, that would be beneficial for my career. For me it’s black and white. I want to start, that’s the whole mind-set I have.”

Which is odd, because in most cases injured pitchers are encouraged to become relievers in an effort to stay healthier. If healthy Ducscherer could prove to be a very nice low-cost pickup, as he’s posted a 3.13 ERA in 455 career innings, but he’s 33 years old and has logged more than 60 innings in a season just once in the past five years.

The Mets expect Tim Tebow to come back next year

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Mets assistant general manager John Ricco told Newsday today that he expects minor league outfielder Tim Tebow to return for a third season in professional baseball.

Tebow, 31, broke the hamate bone in his right hand while swinging a bat in late July, ending his season. It was a fairly successful season for him all things considered. After being promoted to Double-A Binghamton to start the year he hit .273/.336/.399 with six home runs, a stolen base and a .734 OPS in 298 plate appearances and made the Double-A All-Star team. That’s not the stuff of a top prospect — he strikes out far too much and the power numbers aren’t fantastic given that power would figure to be his strongest tool — but it’s pretty respectable for a guy his age and with his relative lack of baseball experience. As I said back in July, you can believe the Mets’ interest in Tebow is more marketing than baseball, but that does not preclude you from giving the guy a deserved tip of the cap for working hard and sticking it out in the bush leagues.

Assuming he does come back, the Mets are likely to start him at Triple-A Syracuse in the hopes that he’d eventually get to the bigs as a late season callup if the Mets aren’t in contention. Indeed, many believed that was the plan for him this year had he not been injured.