Duckworth, whose ability has led his coaches to believe he could be the best pitcher on the staff some day, was making a fine case as the No. 4 starter. He removed himself three pitches into his second-inning warmup. Duckworth felt tightness in his right forearm at the end of the first, and when it didn't recede in the second, he walked off the mound. It was diagnosed as elbow and right forearm inflammation, with reevaluation today. Duckworth never has had arm trouble before.
Duckworth was inconsistent last season, but offseason work with pitching coach Joe Kerrigan seemed to have straightened him out. He had yet to allow a run in seven innings (three games), surrendering just three hits with six strikeouts and one walk.
"He's been having a great spring," said manager Larry Bowa, who expected no concrete news for 48 hours.
"It is bad timing," said Duckworth, who has full range of motion and no burning or pain in the area - both good signs. Asked if he believed he would return soon, Duckworth said, "I think so."
If not, Joe Roa appears to be the top contender for Duckworth's slot, which he could slide into nicely since he's due to pitch today, but the off day Wednesday would put him on track to pitch the next time Duckworth's turn comes.
I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize.