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10/11/07 Journeymen Starters Part 2: Don Sutton's Favorite Pitcher.

     Washington Nationals right-hander Tim Redding has low-90's heat with movement, or late jump, and an often knee-buckling bender that he can throw for a strike. If you watch Washington on MASN, you've probably heard Hall of Fame pitcher Don Sutton effusively praising Redding, going so far as to compare his "stuff" (alone), to that of the great Roger Clemens.

     Don Sutton loves Redding's stuff. Loves it. From Redding's first start for the Nationals in a loss to the Cubs in early July, until his last, and fifteenth start against the Phillies in late September, Sutton, the former Dodger great, and current Nationals broadcaster, made sure everyone watched and paid attention to the kind of pitcher, to paraphrase Mr. Sutton, "...that inspires envy in other pitchers around the league."

     Signed by Washington, along with 20 other Minor League free agents on July 6, 2006, Redding battled for a spot with the Nationals, but was sent down to the Nationals Triple-AAA affiliate in Columbus on March 25, and went (9-5) in 16 starts with a 5.32 ERA in 89.2 innings, to earn a call back to the Majors on July 3 for an emergency start in place of injured lefty Micah Bowie.

      Redding kept the walks low for most of the season, which on a team like the Nationals, who don't score many runs, is essential. Walks always score, everyone knows it, Redding walked 34 in 84.0 innings in 2007, struck out 47, and allowed 84 hits and 34 runs, while posting a (3-6) record in 15 starts, with the second lowest ERA among Nationals pitchers, at 3.64 runs allowed per nine frames.

     Redding will be 30 years-old when the 2008 season begins, but the righty will only be making his 95th Major League start. In those starts for Houston, San Diego, New York and DC, Redding has compiled a (24-40) record with a 4.91 ERA over six Major League seasons...but...Redding's thrown 892.2 innings in 143 Minor League starts in his 9-year professional career...

     How much is left in Redding's arm at 30? Should the Nationals save a starting spot for a pitcher who hasn't had a winning season since his rookie year of 2001? If the Nationals are three of four years away from contention (realistically?), would it be wiser to start getting prospects used to the Majors? Will Redding shave that goatee? Please?