Duchscherer passes physical, officially signs with Orioles

February 04, 2011|By Jeff Zrebiec, The Baltimore Sun

Justin Duchscherer passed his physical, and the Orioles announced Friday that they had signed the oft-injured pitcher to a one-year deal that could be worth as much as $4.5 million.

Duchscherer, 33, has made just five starts since the 2008 season, missing all of 2009 because of an elbow injury and a subsequent bout with clinical depression. He did not pitch after April 29 last season and eventually had surgery to correct an impingement in his left hip.

The Orioles watched him work out and throw a bullpen session last week and came away impressed. A two-time All-Star for the Oakland Athletics, Duchscherer is 33-25 with a 3.13 ERA and nearly a 3-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 224 big league games. As a starter, he is 14-11 with a 3.01 ERA in 32 games, all with Oakland.

"His history is well documented," Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said. "If he stays healthy, his performance will be there. I think it's bring him in and see what we have. That's with all of the rotation. Other than [Jeremy] Guthrie and Justin, they still are relatively young and inexperienced. We're going to try to work with as many [starters] as we can to get five. You'd like to have seven or eight to come out with five."

Duchscherer will make $700,000 in a base contract that will increase to $1.1 million when he is put onto the 25-man roster (that will be prorated if it is later than Opening Day). The deal has incentives based on games started that will continue to build and eventually would bring his salary to $4.5 million if he makes 30 starts in 2011. He also has a standard awards bonus package that includes an additional $100,000 if he is named Comeback Player of the Year.

jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

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Pronunciation guide

The last name of new Orioles pitcher Justin Duchscherer is pronounced Duke-sher

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