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Command eludes Scherzer in spring debut

Updated: March 18, 2009, 12:27 PM ET
By Keith Law
Diamondbacks right-hander Max Scherzer made his first start of the spring Tuesday and was knocked out after two-thirds of an inning, although he gave up only one hard-hit ball to the Athletics: a single up the middle by Orlando Cabrera, who had timed his fastball.

Scherzer was pitching 92-96 mph with an 84-87 mph slider that was softer than it had been in the past; his changeup has improved and shows good fading action, but he still is guiding it and needs to develop more confidence in the pitch so he doesn't telegraph it.

Scherzer's biggest problem was horrible command, as he constantly was behind hitters in the count and missing his targets by wide margins. He walked in a run and was generally erratic, even throwing away a ground ball that led to two runs.

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