New Orioles right-hander Justin Duchscherer passed his physical today, but the 33-year-old has had a past that includes two hip operations and just five starts over the last two years.
But O's president Andy MacPhail feels good about Duchscherer's health heading into spring camp. The Orioles' doctors gave Duchscherer a more extensive look than usual.
"He had a two-day workover," MacPhail said. "They looked at every aspect and he passed. Given his history, it's quite possible there will be issues that could arise, but we are satisfied that he represents a good risk for us for the 2011 season."
Duchscherer made just five starts for Oakland last year, going 2-1 with a 2.89 ERA, his last game coming April 29. He had left hip surgery June 7.
"His history of being an effective pitcher when healthy is where (our interest) started," MacPhail said. "We had the chance to see him in a workout and we constructed something that protects both parties in the event he remains durable and can start for us as many times as we hope he does over the course of the season. There is always a risk, particularly with pitching. But if you can get a two-time All-Star to potentially join your rotation, that is something that is attractive to us."
MacPhail said the Orioles have eight candidates for the starting rotation heading into camp and that includes Rick VandenHurk.
"He could evolve into a long guy and can pitch either way (relief or starting)," MacPhail said of VandenHurk.
The Orioles saw Duchscherer in a workout in Arizona last Friday and that helped convince them he was a guy they wanted to sign.
"That was a big component. Not just for his stuff, but it's more sort of the flow of the delivery and the freedom of movement. And whether there were any impingements or restrictions or any rigidness and all those things came out very well," MacPhail said.
Duchscherer, an All-Star in 2005 and 2008, is 33-25 with a 3:13 ERA in his career.
"He is not an overpowering type. He is a true pitcher. Changes speed and location. The issue is durability, not one of ability," MacPhail added.