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Duchscherer suffers setback

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Justin Duchscherer had to cut a long-toss session short today, due to pain in his right elbow, and is getting a cortisone shot which will have him on the shelf for at least three days.  He reportedly will not be ready for the season opener, and as Rangers fans know, mysterious pains in the throwing elbow can end up disappearing and being a non-issue, or they can...well, not disappear (see, e.g., Jeff Zimmerman).

The A's are the trendy pick in the A.L. West right now, because of some nice offseason pickups (Matt Holliday, Orlando Cabrera, Jason Giambi), but at this point, they appear likely to start the season with a rotation of Dana Eveland, Sean Gallagher, Dallas Braden, Gio Gonzalez, and James Simmons, which I'm not convinced is really a better rotation than what the Rangers will roll out there.

Given that Ervin Santana has a partial tear in his right elbow ligament that the Angels are hoping will respond to rest and rehabilitation (and as a side note -- hearing Dr. Yocum say that the young pitcher just inked to a big extension "might well be able to pitch effectively after rest and rehabilitation," and that his condition "does not necessarily mean he will have to have Tommy John surgery," can't make Angels fans feel too good), the A's and Angels both appear to have some potential rotation issues right now. 

And quite honestly, if the A's and Angels end up with rotations that are not much better than the Rangers' rotation, you could see the Rangers actually in a playoff race this summer.