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Does Dreifort Kneed to Relieve?
2003-03-06 08:42
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

I asked Will Carroll, who analyzes all baseball medical matters in the excellent and unique "Under the Knife" series on Baseball Prospectus, about the recurring buzz from Vero Beach that Darren Dreifort's knee might not stand the up-and-down stress of Dreifort being a relief pitcher. This is a notion I'm skeptical of. Here is Carroll's reply:

It's mostly usage. As a starter, is he getting appropriate rest? Is he pitching efficiently? Is he being monitored for mechanics, pitch count, velocity, etc? As a reliever, is he being used on consecutive days? Is he up and down in the bullpen? Is his role consistent?

There's so many factors - not to mention factors individual to Dreifort - that go in, I simply can't even fathom a guess as to where he'd be more effective or less likely to be injury free.

Ok, I will guess. With Jim Tracy's propensity for finding good matchups and watching usage, I'd say he'd do well in a setup role. With his contract, I think you have to let him start and see if he implodes.

Nice to have some backing for my point of view - even though it's just a guess, it is a guess from an expert. I do disagree about letting him start because of his contract. At this point, no one thinks that contract was a good idea except Dreifort and Scott Boras, his agent. The ticket has been punched - now let's find the best seat we can for Dreifort, even if that seat is in the bullpen.

Of course, this week, the possibility was raised that Andy Ashby might be the No. 6 starter/set-up reliever. We'll see...

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