<
>

Duchscherer, Athletics agree

OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Oakland Athletics have found a familiar face to be one of their front-line starters next season: Justin Duchscherer.

The right-hander and two-time All-Star has agreed to terms on an incentive-laden one-year contract to return to the A's after he missed all the 2009 season. Duchscherer underwent arthroscopic right elbow surgery on March 31 and later was treated for clinical depression.

The 32-year-old Duchscherer will receive a base salary of $1.75 million. The deal could be worth about $5.5 million if Duchscherer attains all of its incentives, a source told ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick.

He has spent the last six of his seven major league seasons with Oakland, becoming a full-time starter for the first time in his career during 2008.

"Where I am today and where I was six months ago is a lot different," Duchscherer said on a conference call. "I learned how to change my attitude and perspective on life and things and not be so hard on myself. We're human and make mistakes. I'm not a robot."

Duchscherer earned his second All-Star nod that season, going 10-8 with a 2.54 ERA while pitching a career-high 141 2/3 innings. He will certainly be looking to return to that top form during the 2010 season. He has said he considered quitting baseball for good during his personal struggles this year.

A's manager Bob Geren was eager to welcome Duchscherer back into the rotation late in the season, but that all changed upon the announcement Aug. 21 that he had been diagnosed with clinical depression and was seeking treatment for the condition. Duchscherer began a rehab assignment July 26 and didn't allow a run in 11 innings over three starts before ending his comeback.

"I'm real happy that he decided to come back with us," Geren said in a phone interview. "All winter I was hoping that he would remain an Athletic. It's a perfect place for him to pitch. He's very familiar with his teammates, the town and the fans. It's really big for us to have him back and he's going to have a heck of a year. Hopefully he'll have a comeback player of the year type season."

Geren said they have texted back and forth.

"He's pretty happy, as we all are," Geren said. "He sounds great. I think he's anxious to get started."

He can earn up to $750,000 for days on the active roster -- $250,000 each for 60, 90 and 120 days of active service.

Duchscherer also can make up to $1.95 million for games started: $150,000 when he reaches 10 games started, $200,000 at 15, $250,000 at 17, $300,000 at 20, $450,000 at 25 and $150,000 each for every start from 27 to 30.

There's an additional $1.125 million to be had for innings pitched. He can earn $175,000 once at 150 innings, another $175,000 at 160, $175,000 at 170, $200,000 at 180, $200,000 at 190 and $200,000 at 200 innings pitched.

He also can earn a bonus of $100,000 if chosen comeback player of the year.

Also Wednesday, Oakland designated left-hander Jay Marshall for assignment to clear room on the 40-man roster for Duchscherer.

Having Duchscherer back will add a key veteran presence to a young rotation that featured mostly rookies in 2009, including highly touted Brett Anderson and Trevor Cahill.

The A's finished with 75 wins for the second straight season and in last place in the AL West, losing their final seven games.

General manager Billy Beane has been busy this winter. The A's signed outfielder Coco Crisp last week and Beane acquired third baseman Jake Fox, second baseman Aaron Miles and cash considerations from the Chicago Cubs for three players.

Oakland also was included in the big four-team, nine-player swap featuring Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay that brought outfielder Michael Taylor to the A's. Oakland sent third baseman Brett Wallace to Toronto.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.