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Duke signed, Perry optioned

Mar 29, 2012, 8:23 PM EDT

Associated Press photo
Zach Duke was released by the Astros after going 0-3 with an 11.30 ERA this spring.

VIERA, Fla. — Seeking pitching depth to stash away at Class AAA Syracuse, the Nationals have signed left-hander Zach Duke to a minor-league contract, the club announced this afternoon.

The Nationals also optioned reliever Ryan Perry to Syracuse following today's 6-3 victory over the Braves and announced outfielder Jason Michaels has been released.

Duke, 28, was released by the Astros on Tuesday, two days after he was shelled for 10 runs in 3 1/3 innings. Expected to compete for a spot in Houston's Opening Day rotation, the left-hander wound up 0-3 with an 11.30 ERA.

Duke does have considerable big-league experience, owner of a 48-74 record and 4.56 ERA in 181 career games with the Pirates and Diamondbacks. He's expected to join the rotation at Syracuse and could be called upon if the Nationals need an experienced starter at someRead more »

  1. Les in NC - Mar 29, 2012 at 8:36 PM

    I hope he sticks in AAA for awhile, by the way everyone talks they could sure use him! I like the signing personally, doesn't really cost us anything and if things go severely wrong this season he could pitch in DC.

  2. Anonymous - Mar 29, 2012 at 8:40 PM

    Three years ago, the Nats would have signed a pitcher like Duke and immediately put him in the rotation. Now, he's minor-league depth. Just another sign of how far this organization has come.

  3. CN - Mar 29, 2012 at 8:47 PM

    These types of signings (vets assigned to AAA to serve as emergency fill-ins) serve as a note that the team expects to contend this year. Else like in years past when a SP is needed, the team would've thrown in a young pitcher making his debut straight from AA, stunting his development. This move allows the young pitchers to continue to mature while giving the major league club some options in case of emergency.

  4. Anonymous - Mar 29, 2012 at 8:47 PM

    Three years ago, the Nationals would have run a marketing campaign playing up the fact that they had a Duke and a Dukes. And they would have done it with Natitude.

  5. Theophilus - Mar 29, 2012 at 8:54 PM

    Yawn. Really. Ambien material.

  6. Les in NC - Mar 29, 2012 at 8:54 PM

    And opposing teams could have said something like "put up your Dukes" and commenced to beat us to a pulp…..

  7. hmmm... - Mar 29, 2012 at 8:56 PM

    they could have called it "put up your dukes"(dukeses?)glad it never happened.

  8. hmm... - Mar 29, 2012 at 8:56 PM

    les – too fast for me

  9. A DC Wonk - Mar 29, 2012 at 9:11 PM

    Too bad the Orioles of the last generation didn't sing him (Duke, Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl . . . )(groan)

  10. Natsochist - Mar 29, 2012 at 9:28 PM

    Attention webmasters – Impact is not a fun font for post titles. Boo.Mark, do you think Nady would start OD in left over Bernadina?

  11. Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me - Mar 29, 2012 at 9:29 PM

    Three years ago, we would have signed Duke off the garbage heap … and he would have started on opening day instead of (gulp!) Daniel Cabrera.That opener against the Phils that day was one of the longest days of my life.

  12. Exposremains - Mar 29, 2012 at 9:37 PM

    quite a lineup and SP that the Nats brought to Tigers. Isn't there a rule about having a few regulars in there.

  13. Gonat - Mar 29, 2012 at 9:47 PM

    Unless you see something in Duke, its just a warm body for AAA. Not sure I get that.

  14. Hondo69 - Mar 29, 2012 at 9:48 PM

    REPOSTED:I just discovered that our other split-squad game is being televised on FSD (Fox Sports Detroit), Ch. 663 on DirecTV live at 6pm. It's also live on MLB.TV.

  15. Anonymous - Mar 29, 2012 at 9:50 PM

    A warm body with a good deal of NL pitching experience. Plus a cheap contract. Not bad insurance to have stashed at AAA in case you need an emergency starter.

  16. Section 3, My Sofa - Mar 29, 2012 at 10:19 PM

    Of course, if Elijah and Zack had combined to produce a come-from-behind win, you might say the Nats were able to Duke it out…Thankfully, that need never happen.

  17. Anonymous - Mar 29, 2012 at 10:22 PM

    If only we could have seen the Duke of Flatbush vs. the Duke of K Street.

  18. Grandstander - Mar 29, 2012 at 10:27 PM

    Can we make a script for this site for when anyone types in "Daniel Cabrera" it shows up as "The Pitcher Who Shall Not Be Named"?Not sure why anyone wouldn't like this signing, it's just a minor league deal for depth. As others said it speaks to how good a rotation we have now, but I think it also speaks to how cleaned out our high-level pitching prospects are due to the Gio trade. Instead of Peacock and Milone making spot starts it's going to be trash heap vets like Duke.Not saying, just saying…

  19. Theophilus - Mar 29, 2012 at 10:31 PM

    If Kate Middleton threw out the first pitch during a trip to DC, you'd call it "The Dukes and the Duchess."

  20. Anonymous - Mar 29, 2012 at 10:40 PM

    So if they bring him up after SS hits his innings limit, it's just a little Duke's mayonnaise on top of the Strasburger.

  21. Steady Eddie - Mar 29, 2012 at 10:56 PM

    Grandstander — bet you $10,000 (Mitt Romney will cover it for me) that Zach Duke never wears a Nats uniform this season, unless he proves totally lights out and even then only as a September call-up.We have Det, Gorzy, and Stammen — you know, real pitchers — to do spot starts if needed.

  22. Rabbit - Mar 30, 2012 at 11:19 AM

    Duke, an experienced starter and experienced loser. Why the heck did we take him? Maybe he brought attention to himself with a 11 ERA?

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