Duchscherer had to stop playing long toss on Saturday morning because of persistent pain in his right elbow. He was given a cortisone injection and he won't be able to touch a baseball until at least Tuesday.
"When I got to 75-80 percent, it started hurting," he said. "The more I threw, the worse it got. Instead of taking a few more days off, we're going to hit it hard with cortisone and take it from there."
Duchscherer said the extra rest would prevent him from building up his pitch count.
"If I don't feel better soon, I'd probably start the season on the DL," Duchscherer said. "I've got a lot of pitches to throw to get ready to start a regular season game."
The A's have considered putting Duchscherer in the bullpen to start the year while he builds his arm strength toward starting. Duchscherer said he wouldn't object to a temporary bullpen assignment, but at the moment it's a moot point because he's still in pain.
"To say the least, it's frustrating," he said.
Earlier on Saturday, manager Bob Geren said Duchscherer was scheduled to throw in the bullpen on Tuesday, and if that went well he had a chance to start the fifth game of the regular season.
When Duchscherer resumes throwing, he'll have to start with light catch.
Duchscherer was an All-Star as a reliever in 2005 and as a starter in 2008. He missed the end of the 2008 season with a hip problem that was surgically repaired last fall.