Nationals sign reliever Walker

Nationals sign reliever Walker

WASHINGTON -- Right-hander Tyler Walker agreed to terms on a one-year, $650,000 contract with the Nationals on Monday, according to two baseball sources. The club also signed outfielder Chris Duncan and left-hander Chuck James to Minor League deals with an invitation to Spring Training.

Walker is expected to be part of the new relief corps which includes Brian Bruney, Matt Capps and Eddie Guardado. Walker, 33, is coming off one of his better seasons, going 2-1 with a 3.06 ERA in 32 games for the Phillies. He is a seven-year veteran who has played with the Mets, Giants and Rays.

The left-handed-hitting Duncan is coming off one of his poorest seasons in the big leagues, hitting .227 with five home runs and 32 RBIs, all with the Cardinals. On July 22, St. Louis traded Duncan to the Red Sox for infielder Julio Lugo, but Duncan never saw Major League action with Boston before he was released about a month later.

If Duncan makes the Nationals' big league roster out of Spring Training, he will likely serve as a backup. Otherwise, he may begin the season with Triple-A Syracuse.

As for James, he missed the entire 2009 season due to left shoulder surgery. He was signed by the Nationals on the recommendation of assistant general manager Roy Clark, who was impressed by James when they were with the Braves.

James' best season was in 2006, when he went 11-4 with a 3.78 ERA.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.