SARASOTA, Fla. -- Orioles starter Justin Duchscherer threw approximately 30 pitches prior to Thursday's 2-0 loss to the Twins -- including 20 off a regular mound -- and said his sore left hip felt "perfectly fine."
"It felt like my hip was 100 percent," said Duchscherer, who thinks he was overly cautious in dealing with soreness over the weekend. "Today, it felt pretty much the way it did before I had an issue, so it's a very positive step for me."
Duchscherer is coming off his fourth surgery in two seasons -- most recently on his left hip -- and was scratched from Wednesday's scheduled start after experiencing some discomfort on Saturday.
Under the watchful eye of manager Buck Showalter and pitching coach Mark Connor, Duchscherer threw on one of the team's back fields with no problem, a welcome sign of relief.
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"Knowing that I might have a little soreness or whatever, being able to combat it with some anti-inflammatories and understanding that just because it gets a little flared up doesn't mean I have to have surgery or something like that," Duchscherer said, "for me going forward, if I have a little soreness, I won't get as panicked as I was last time."
Although the 33-year-old is injury-prone, the Orioles decided he was worth the risk, signing Duchscherer to an incentive-laden deal this winter. The thought is that if he's healthy and productive, he will be in the team's Opening Day rotation.
"Obviously, I didn't sign and come here to miss time," Duchscherer said. "As a professional athlete, the worst thing in the world is when you're missing time and you're not helping your team. I've had a rough go the last couple of years, and that's not my goal this year. I want to throw 200 innings, win 20 games and do all the things I've always aspired to do. That's my goal."
Duchscherer is unsure about what the next step in his progression will be, but he planned on taking a light day Friday and potentially throwing again on Saturday.