A’s bring back Duchscherer
OAKLAND – The Oakland Athletics have found a familiar face to be one of their front-line starters next season: Justin Duchscherer.
The right-hander and two-time All-Star agreed to terms on an incentive-laden one-year contract Wednesday to return to the A’s after he missed all the 2009 season. Duchscherer underwent arthroscopic right elbow surgery on March 31 and later was treated for clinical depression.
The 32-year-old Duchscherer will receive a base salary of $1.75 million. The sides reached a preliminary agreement last week that was pending a physical to be finalized.
He has spent the last six of his seven major league seasons with Oakland, becoming a full-time starter for the first time in his career during 2008.
Duchscherer earned his second All-Star nod that season, going 10-8 with a 2.54 ERA while pitching a career-high 141 2-3 innings. He will certainly be looking to return to that top form during the 2010 season. He has said he considered quitting baseball for good during his personal struggles this year.
A’s manager Bob Green was eager to welcome Duchscherer back into the rotation late in the season, but that all changed upon the announcement Aug. 21 that he had been diagnosed with clinical depression and was seeking treatment for the condition. Duchscherer began a rehab assignment July 26 and didn’t allow a run in 11 innings over three starts before ending his comeback.
“I’m real happy that he decided to come back with us,” Geren said in a phone interview. “All winter I was hoping that he would remain an Athletic. It’s a perfect place for him to pitch. He’s very familiar with his teammates, the town and the fans. It’s really big for us to have him back and he’s going to have a heck of a year. Hopefully he’ll have a comeback player of the year type season.”
Geren said they have texted back and forth.
“He’s pretty happy, as we all are,” Geren said. “He sounds great. I think he’s anxious to get started.”
Also Wednesday, Oakland designated left-hander Jay Marshall for assignment to clear room on the 40-man roster for Duchscherer.
Having Duchscherer back will add a key veteran presence to a young rotation that featured mostly rookies in 2009, including highly touted Brett Anderson and Trevor Cahill.
The A’s finished with 75 wins for the second straight season and in last place in the AL West, losing their final seven games.
General manager Billy Beane has been busy this winter. The A’s signed outfielder Coco Crisp last week and Beane acquired third baseman Jake Fox, second baseman Aaron Miles and cash considerations from the Chicago Cubs for three players.
Oakland also was included in the big four-team, nine-player swap featuring Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay that brought outfielder Michael Taylor to the A’s. Oakland sent third baseman Brett Wallace to Toronto.
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