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Duchscherer passes physical; O's announce deal

Right-hander Justin Duchscherer has passed his physical, finalizing his one-year, major league contract with the Orioles.

Duchscherer, 33, chose the Orioles over the Washington Nationals and the Seattle Mariners, partially because he wanted to be close to his son in southern New Jersey and also because the Orioles will allow him to compete for a spot in their rotation and won't be using him as a reliever, a role he held for much of his eight seasons in the majors.

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He will make $700,000 in a base contract that will increase to $1.1 million when he is put on the 25-man roster (that will be prorated if it is later than Opening Day). He 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 which includes an additional $100,000 if he is named Comeback Player of the Year.

Known as a control artist who can throw several pitches for strikes, Duchscherer is attempting to come back from hip surgery after making just five starts in 2010. He also missed all of 2009 after an elbow injury and a subsequent bout with clinical depression.

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When Duchscherer is healthy, however, he can be extremely effective. A two-time All-Star for the Oakland Athletics, he 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.

Duchscherer was supposed to hold an open workout for teams Tuesday, but after having an Orioles scout watch him throw about 50 pitches during a private side session in Phoenix on Friday, the club decided to sign him.

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