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Duchscherer says he's healthy, ready to contribute

Starting pitcher Justin Duchscherer was under the weather this morning, joking that he doesn't normally sound like a "70-year-old smoker." However, he took the time to answer questions from reporters via conference call a day after he passed his Orioles physical and his one-year deal with the club was finalized. Here is a sampling of his responses:

On how he is feeling physically: "I threw for scouts [last week], and I was already throwing 85 to 86 miles an hour, which was as hard as I was throwing in a game last year. I don't feel like it should be an excuse. I feel as good as I have probably in five years. I'm looking forward to being healthy."

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On his decision to sign with the Orioles: "My agent and I knew that because I had been injured the last two years, I would probably have to throw for some teams to get the contract we were looking for. We weren't real aggressive in the offseason. Our whole plan was to get the rehab finished so I can get on the mound and show them where I was at. I threw for Baltimore and they immediately contacted my agent. They apparently liked what they saw and it came down to negotiating with the Orioles and a couple of other teams. The two teams it came down to were the Orioles and Nationals. Those were the two teams that had the best set of circumstances for me. The ultimate reason that I went to the Orioles is they are a little bit closer to my son and they are in the American League."

Expanding on that a little, Duchscherer and his wife, who he met while he was a minor leaguer in the Boston Red Sox organization, got divorced and his wife and son moved to New Jersey. A candid Duchscherer said that the separation from his son led to his bout with depression.

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As for his desire to stay in the American League, Duchscherer acknowledged that both his knowledge of the league from pitching for the Oakland Athletics, and the fact that he won't have to put extra stress on his back and hip while swinging and running for a National League club contributed to him wanting to stay in the A.L.

On why he wants to remain a starter: "I just feel like the stuff that I take to the mound is more conducive to being a starter. I throw four pitches, I throw to all locations. ... Mentally and physically, it matches up better with what my abilities."

On his knowledge of the Orioles and the addition of Guerrero: "I don't really know that much about the Orioles. The last time I pitched against them, you guys still had Aubrey Huff. I don't really know many guys. I know Vladimir. I'm going to be glad that I'm not going to have to face him. I don't think I had much success against him."

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