Sometimes, all you need in life is some words of wisdom and a huge dose of tough love. That's what happened to Zach Duke, who decided to continue his career as a reliever, thanks to some strong words courtesy of his wife.
Duke once was a reliable and confident starter pitcher, being an important part of the rotation of the Pittsburgh Pirates' during his 5 year stint with the Bucs. Althought he had 45-70 with a 4.54 ERA, he played for a series of dreadful Pirates teams, who never finished higher than fifth in the National League Central, he still was a pretty good starting pitcher, proving his value with an appearence in the 2009 All-Star game.
But then, he had some tough tenures with the D-Backs and specially with the Nationals during the 2013 season, where he recorded an awful ERA of 8.71 during 20 2/3 IP. He was cut by the Nats in June that season. The last start of his career also came in that season.
The 34 year-old wanted to continue his career as a starting pitcher, but no team was willing to sign Duke for that role. But then his wife came in and told him the truth, no matter how hard it was: He was not good enough to be a starter anymore. As the pitcher told in an interview with Mike Berardino for the the Twin Cities Pioneer Press.
She kind of had to beat it through my head that I was done as a starter. My wife just kind of said, ‘Listen, nobody is interested in you as a starter anymore. They’ve seen it, babe. There’s nothing changing. They know what they’re going to get as a starter, and nobody wants it anymore.
These words made the left-handed rethink his career and embrace his new role as a reliever. After that awful season with the Nationals, Duke enjoyed decent seasons with the Brewers, White Sox and Cardinals.
During this off-season, the Texas-born signed a one-year contract worth $2.1 million with the Minnesota Twins, with the chance to earn another $1.5 M through bonuses, proving that there's still life after losing the "glamour" of being a starter pitcher.