WASHINGTON -- The Nationals were a finalist to acquire free-agent right-hander Justin Duchscherer, but he agreed to terms on a one-year Major League contract with the Orioles, pending a physical.
Baltimore won out because he has a chance to be near the top of the rotation. Duchscherer will now play close to his son, who lives in New Jersey.
"[The Orioles and Nationals] couldn't be more geographically similar," said Duchscherer's agent Damon Lapa. "They both offered the opportunity to contribute at the middle to top end of the starting rotation. ... From [Duchscherer's] perspective, Baltimore presented the best set of factors as far as where he wants to go and pitch. It was an extremely tough decision. Both organizations were fantastic throughout the process."
Entering Spring Training, the Nats appear set with at least four starters -- Livan Hernandez, Jordan Zimmermann, Jason Marquis and John Lannan -- in the rotation. The fifth spot appears to be up for grabs between Tom Gorzelanny, Yunesky Maya, Ross Detwiler and Chien-Ming Wang.
Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo was unavailable for comment.
Duchscherer has played most of his Major League career with the Athletics. In the last two seasons, Duchscherer has pitched in a combined five games, going 2-1 with a 2.89 ERA. He missed all of 2009 because of shoulder and back injuries and clinical depression.
This past season, Duchscherer spent most of his time on the disabled list because of hip problems. Duchscherer's hips are 100 percent healthy and he is ready for Spring Training.
Duchscherer's best season was in 2008, when he went 10-8 with a 2.54 ERA. He was also an All-Star for the second time that season.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. MLB.com reporter Brittany Ghiroli contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.