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04/26/08 2:34 AM ET

Duchscherer off DL and back on hill

Oakland (15-9) at Seattle (11-13), Saturday, 6:10 p.m. PT

SEATTLE -- It will be a battle of the fittest -- or at least the most efficient -- Saturday when Oakland and Seattle send out starters who are both coming off the disabled list.

Justin Duchscherer, who exited his first start April 4 with a strained right biceps, takes the mound for the A's. He'll be opposed by Erik Bedard, who hasn't pitched since April 8 because of inflammation in his left hip.

"That is curious," Duchscherer said. "That is kind of weird. Hopefully, I do better."

Both pitchers will be on pitch counts. Manager Bob Geren said Duchscherer will be allowed to throw from 70 to 85 pitches.

"I'm just hoping I can get deep enough into the game that I don't tax my bullpen," Duchscherer said. "That's my goal, at least six innings in. I'll try to be as efficient as I can with my 80 pitches."

Duchscherer threw five shutout innings against the Indians in his lone start before he was lifted.

"I felt it in the game but since then I haven't felt it at all. I think the cold weather had something to do with it," he said. "The worst part about it is I had been lobbying to start the last four years when I was in the bullpen. I started in the Minor Leagues all the way up. I just like the routine better for me. So finally I make it into the rotation, I make one start and come out of the game. It's frustrating.

"I'm definitely looking forward to getting into the season and showing them what I can do."

Pitching matchup
OAK: RHP Justin Duchscherer (1-0, 1.80 ERA)
The key question for Duchscherer is where his 80-pitch limit will take him in the game. Efficiency is his challenge. It helps that the Mariners are generally an impatient bunch, swinging early in the count. He has faced Seattle 29 times in his career, all in relief. He is 0-4 with a pair of saves and a 4.24 ERA. The Mariners have a .273 average against him.

SEA: LHP Erik Bedard (1-0, 3.27 ERA)
This will be Bedard's first start in 18 days, a delay caused by time spent on the disabled list with a sore left hip. He had his second start pushed back, finally working six innings in a 6-5 win over Tampa Bay on April 8. His third start was again pushed back until the club finally decided to place him on the DL. He threw a couple of bullpens this week without discomfort. He is 1-3 with a 4.12 ERA in seven appearances against Oakland.

The A's have won six of their last seven games and are a season-high six games over .500. ... They are off to their best start, 15-9, since 1992. ... They are guaranteed their first winning April since 2003. Oakland's 15 wins in the month surpass the win total for the past four Aprils. ... The A's have the best road record in the Majors at 7-2. ... The offense has pushed across 48 runs over the past seven games after scoring just seven runs over their previous five. ... Emil Brown has had at least one RBI in nine of his last 10 games. ... Jack Cust has earned at least one walk in 10 straight games.

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Up next
• Sunday: Athletics (Joe Blanton, 1-4, 4.32) at Mariners (Felix Hernandez, 2-0, 1.67), 1:10 p.m. PT
• Monday: Athletics (Chad Gaudin, 2-1, 3.38) at Angels (Jon Garland, 3-2, 5.04), 7:05 p.m. PT
• Tuesday: Athletics (Greg Smith, 2-0, 2.88) at Angels (Joe Saunders, 4-0, 2.55), 7:05 p.m. PT

Bob Sherwin is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.