Take the Fifth — That Is, Take My Fifth Starter, Please

Scott Richmond Blue Jays

Maybe it's time to go back to the four-man rotation.

No, that isn't really practical. But with Opening Day encroaching, teams are sorting out their pitching staffs. And since most teams went into spring training not sure who would make up the back-end of the rotation, we're starting to get word now on who will fill those roles.

In Detroit, it's rookies Ryan Perry and Rick Porcello, who beat out veteran Nate Robertson. Elsewhere, it's not as sexy.

Texas named Kris Benson its fifth starter over Scott Feldman. A nice comeback for Benson, who last pitched in the majors in 2006.

Toronto chose Scott Richmond (right), which is a good story in Canada because he's Canadian. He's also 29 years old and a refugee from the Edmonton Cracker-Cats of the independent Northern League, for whom he went 14-19 from 2005-07.

Pittsburgh went with Jeff Karstens, a typical No. 5 type - not overpowering, changes speeds, throws strikes - who came over from the Yankees in last summer's Xavier Nady deal.

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In Kansas City, Sidney Ponson and Horacio Ramirez take up the last two spots. Which one has the career 4.95 ERA, and which 4.59? (Hint, the bigger guy has the bigger ERA.)

And Houston is going with Russ Ortiz, who has two wins since the end of the 2005 season and last pitched in the bigs on Aug. 20, 2007.

Think those are bad? The Dodgers and Athletics are still deciding their No. 5 starters.

At least these decisions are reversible. As Pirates general manager Neal Huntingtonsaid:

"A lot is made of April 6, and the reality is that this bullpen, this rotation, our bench, even our lineup, it could look very different as we get into the middle of April, the middle of May, the middle of June. We have a lot of players who have to keep their jobs."

Take the Fifth -- That Is, Take My Fifth Starter, Please originally appeared on MLB FanHouse on Wed, 01 Apr 2009 17:51:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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