Topic: Justin Duchscherer

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Justin Craig Duchscherer (born November 19, 1977, in Aberdeen, South Dakota) is a right-handed Major League Baseball starting pitcher who is currently playing for the Oakland Athletics.

Duchscherer (nickname: "Duke") was selected by the Boston Red Sox in the 8th round (241st overall) of the 1996 Major League Baseball Draft out of Coronado High School in Lubbock, Texas. His high-80s fastball made him one of the hardest throwers in the area, but his velocity soon ranked as only average as he entered the minor leagues.

In 1998, he went 7-12 with a 4.79 ERA in 30 appearances (26 starts) for Single-A Michigan. As Duchscherer continued to struggle in the low levels of the minor leagues, he was beginning to look more like a roster filler than a big-league prospect. But in 2001, he turned his career around. He went 6-3 with a 2.44 ERA in 12 starts for Double-A Trenton before being traded to the Texas Rangers for catcher Doug Mirabelli. He finished the year pitching well with the Texas organization, going 4-0 for Double-A Tulsa and sporting a 2.84 ERA after his call-up to Triple-A Oklahoma. He received his first major league call-up in 2001, a very forgettable one. He went 1-1 with a 12.27 ERA for the Rangers.

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