A's Re-Sign Duchscherer

On Wednesday, the Oakland A's officially announced the re-signing of free agent pitcher Justin Duchscherer to a one-year contract. The deal is believed to be worth a guaranteed $2 million with incentives built in that can be worth an additional $3.5 million. Left-handed reliever Jay Marshall was designated for assignment to make room for Duchscherer.

The Oakland A's made their second free agent signing of the off-season on Wednesday, inking right-hander Justin Duchscherer to a one-year deal. Duchscherer, who has been a member of the A's organization since 2002, was expected to sign with another team this off-season, but will return to the A's to head their young starting rotation.

Duchscherer was expected to be the A's Opening Day starter in 2009, but he missed the entire season with elbow problems and with clinical depression. In 2008, Duchscherer was an AL All-Star, going 10-8 with a 2.54 ERA in 22 starts. He was also an All-Star in 2005 as a reliever, when he posted a 2.21 ERA and had five saves.

In seven major league seasons, Duchscherer has a 3.14 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP in 426.2 innings. He was a reliever for Oakland in 2004-2007 before switching to a starting role in 2008. In the minor leagues, Duchscherer was an accomplished starter, and he won the PCL Pitcher of the Year award in 2003 with Sacramento when he went 12-2 with a 3.12 ERA. He was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in 1996, but was traded to the Texas Rangers in 2001 for catcher Doug Mirabelli. The A's acquired Duchscherer from Texas in the spring of 2002 for reliever Luis Vizcaino.

Duchscherer has been limited throughout his major league career by a series of injuries, mostly to his back, hip and right elbow and forearm. If healthy, he will team with left-hander Dallas Braden as the two veterans on an Oakland A's staff that is expected to feature at least two pitchers under the age of 23.

To make room for Duchscherer on the A's 40-man roster, Oakland designated left-handed reliever Jay Marshall for assignment. Marshall was a Triple-A All-Star in 2009 with Sacramento, with whom he posted a 3.20 ERA and saved seven games. He struggled in a late-season audition with the A's, however, allowing 12 runs and 13 hits in 7.1 innings. Marshall spent all of the 2008 season in the minor leagues with Double-A Midland and Triple-A Sacramento and had a 3.71 ERA in 70.1 innings.

Marshall was the odd-man out in large part due to the A's depth in the area of left-handed relief. Oakland is carrying three other left-handed relievers with major league experience on their 40-man roster (Craig Breslow, Jerry Blevins and Brad Kilby).

In other A's news, Oakland minor league relief prospect Paul Smyth was named the 2009 Short-Season MiLB Reliever of the Year by MiLB.com on Wednesday. Smyth spent most of his professional debut season with the short-season Vancouver Canadians, for whom he threw 29.1 scoreless innings before being promoted to Low-A Kane County. He finished his debut season with 36.1 scoreless innings between Vancouver and Kane County. Smyth was the A's 35th round pick in 2009.

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