Archive

ShareThis Page
Duke cruises through latest start | TribLIVE.com
News

Duke cruises through latest start

Tribune-Review
| Friday, March 17, 2006 12:00 a.m

SARASOTA, Fla. — Zach Duke spent more time running along the outfield warning track at Ed Smith Stadium than he did on the mound Thursday afternoon.

That was good news for the Pirates.

Pitching on three days of rest — in a move he said was probably designed “to set up the rotation” — Duke swiftly worked three innings and allowed just one earned run on two hits while striking out three Cincinnati Reds in the Pirates’ 7-2 loss.

Not bad for a 22-year-old who is seemingly a lock to soon be named the Pirates’ Opening Day starter.

“It’d be nice, of course,” Duke said of the possibility starting his first Opening Day — April 3 in Milwaukee against the Brewers.

After the game, Pirates manager Jim Tracy again refused to name his starter for the opener.

However, Duke said he was notified earlier in the week by pitching coach Jim Colborn that he would work on short rest against the Reds.

Such an unusual spring-training move can only be interpreted as the Pirates setting up Duke to be the season-opening starter.

Duke confirmed yesterday that Colborn assured him that he would work on five days of rest through the remainder of spring training. That schedule would have Duke starting March 21 and 27, which would put him in line to start the opener on six days of rest.

By then, Duke hopes to have the kinks worked out of his two-seam fastball. He had struggled with his go-to pitch during early exhibition starts, but he’s been pleased with the way he’s thrown it over his past two.

“The consistency is getting there,” Duke said. “This was probably the best that I’ve felt all spring.”

Tracy pulled Duke aside after taking him out of yesterday’s game and praised his work.

“He looked a lot like the Zach Duke we saw last year, and that’s a very good sign,” Tracy said. “You saw a guy who is spearheading himself in the direction he wants to go in.”

Categories: News
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.