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A's, Duchscherer agree on one-year deal

A's, Duchscherer agree on one-year deal

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Free agent Justin Duchscherer will be returning for a seventh season with the Athletics, officially agreeing on a one-year deal.

No details of the contract were released, but it was reported last week that it is worth $5.5 million if he reaches his incentives.

"I know the people, the coaching staff and the organization well. It creates a comfortable environment for me to come back to," said Duchscherer on why he returned to the Athletics. "All in all, I like playing in Oakland. I like the ballpark, I like the team, I like the people who work there. I'm just excited to get back out there."

Duchscherer, 32, missed the entire 2009 season after undergoing elbow surgery and treatment for clinical depression. He arrived at Spring Training recovering from 2008 hip surgery, but did not pitch in a Major League spring game before having arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow March 31.

During the offseason, the Athletics offered Duchscherer arbitration, but he didn't accept the offer because he hoped to move closer to his son, who lives in Philadelphia. Duchscherer went through a divorce and acknowledged he needed to take care of business off the field.

Duchscherer also credited the A's for not putting any pressure on him to go back on the field this past season. They gave him the understanding that life outside of baseball is just as important as his life inside the game.

"I wanted to see my opportunity possibly over on the East Coast with some teams before I make a final decision," Duchscherer said. "I know some people were like, 'He didn't want to come back.' And when I signed back, I surprised some people. But I always wanted to stay with the A's. I enjoyed my career there. I look forward to next year coming back.

"As far as last season, I went through personal stuff with my divorce and being away from my son -- not really being able to handle all the stress and pressure at one time. I needed some help. I spoke to the A's sports psychologist. I got the help I needed. I sorted out a lot of things that needed to be dealt with. I feel a lot better. I'm ready to go."

The right-hander made the move from the bullpen to the starting rotation in 2008 and put up dominant numbers. He finished with a 10-8 record and a 2.54 ERA over 22 starts, giving up just 107 hits and 34 walks over 141 2/3 innings, while striking out 95.

Duchscherer is currently working out in Phoenix and said his elbow is 100 percent. He is looking forward to helping the young pitchers on the staff.

"I have a good program going and I feel great. There's not a concern about that," Duchscherer said.

To clear a spot on the 40-man roster, the A's designated left-handed pitcher Jay Marshall for assignment.

Marshall was 5-3 with a 3.20 ERA and seven saves in 50 games at Triple-A Sacramento last year before he was selected by Oakland on Aug. 9. He had two losses and a 14.73 ERA in 10 relief appearances with the A's and is 1-4 with a 7.66 ERA in 61 career relief appearances over two seasons with Oakland.

Bill Ladson and Scott Merkin are reporters for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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