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Apr. 29, 2009 (Morning Call delivered by Newstex ) --

For the second straight year a one-time MLB pitching phenom will take the mound at Coca-Cola Park.

(No, I'm not talking about Adam Eaton. Or even Brett Myers).

But Dontrelle Willis, will?pitch for Toledo on Friday,?is no Dice-K Matsuzaka.

Remember when the Marlins put him on the market and Phillies fans begged the club to bring him in? Be grateful they didn't listen. He's been nothing but an expensive mistake so far for Detroit, which gave him a three-year, $29-million extension after obtaining him in that blockbuster eight-player trade in December, 2007.

He is 22-29 with a 4.75 ERA since going 22-10 , 2.63 for Florida in 2005. He's even worse over the last two years -- 10-17, 5.61. He made more starts last year in the minors (12 between Toldedo and Lakewood) than in the majors (eight) last year for Detroit, which owes $22him? million for this year and next (can you say Adam Eaton?).

His performance wasn't all that regardless of the level -- bothered by? knee injury and control issues, he was?0-2 with a 9.38 ERA while issuing 35 walks in 24 innings with the Tigers . In the minors he was 3-4 with a 4.47 ERA in those 12 starts but gave up 64 hits and 25 walks in 56 1/3 innings.

Imagine the uproar from the level-headed Phillies faithful if they had to deal with both Eaton AND Willis last summer. It's probably a safe bet we wouldn't have seen that parade down Broad Street in November.

This year the Tigers put Willis?on the disabled list at the end of spring training with an "anxiety disorder," and so far has?made rehab starts with Single-A Lakeland and Double-A Erie. Friday?will be his third. Pretty soon the Tigers will have to decide what to do with him -- give him a roster spot,?make him the highest-paid minor leaguer in history, or keep him on the DL and send him to Florida to continue his "rehab" in extended spring.

As one Baseball scout said?in the Scranton press box when his name?came up, 'Take a good look at him Friday -- he'll be in Lakeland?soon."?

Newstex ID: AA-3369-34534378

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: April 30, 2009

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