An MRI and a trip back to Philadelphia for tests determined that the injury was something relatively simple; tendonitis. Duckworth simply needed some time off and would then start all over on his spring training. Still, the Phillies and the faithful were worried. After all, Duckworth was one of the young pitchers that the Phillies were planning on to be a part of the resurgence of Phillies baseball.
As the Phillies were winding down spring training, Duckworth threw an inning in a game and all went well. During the outing and even the next day, there was no soreness, no swelling. The Phillies headed south to Miami to open against the Marlins and Duckworth stayed behind to continue his work. On Tuesday, as the big league club rested, Duckworth went to work. Pitching against the true youngsters of the organization, guys who will be starting their seasons in A ball, Duckworth was simply dominating. He retired 9 hitters on 36 pitches – four under his pitch limit – and was able to throw fastballs, curves and changeups. "It's by far the most comfortable I've felt with my change all spring," reported Duckworth after the outing.
Next stop for Duckworth will be the Florida State League, pitching for Clearwater on Sunday against Dunedin. If things stay on track, Duckworth will then get a couple rehab starts at Reading or perhaps, Scranton before looking for his place in the Phillies rotation. By the time that Easter arrives, the Phillies hope Duckworth will be back in Philadelphia, meaning that either Joe Roa or Brett Myers will have to yield a spot in the rotation.
While Duckworth's season has been delayed, the good news is that the delay was a relatively short one. The Phillies count on Duckworth to rebound and pitching coach Joe Kerrigan counted Duckworth as one of his star pupils this spring.