Both SI.com's Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) and Baltimore Sun sports writer Dan Connolly (@danconnollysun) reported via Twitter earlier today that the Washington Nationals were interested in free agent right-hander Justin Duchscherer, the 33-year-old former Red Sox' draft pick, Rangers' prospect and A's starter and reliever who pitched for Oakland last season before a hip injury and surgery forced him out. The two writers disagreed, however, as to how many teams were still in the hunt, with Mr. Crasnick reporting that sources told him, "Duchscherer has narrowed his choices to 4 teams," with the, "#Nationals are making a strong push, along with the #Orioles," while Mr. Connolly wrote that the, "Duchscherer sweepstakes [was] down to 3 teams on 1-yr deals," with the Orioles, Nationals and Mariners the possible destinations.
MLB.com's Bill Ladson (@washingnats) has since confirmed the reports with the Nationals, writing on Twitter, "I have comfirmed that the Nats are a finalist for Justin Duchscherer's services," while Mr. Connolly has since written that, "One source says [the] Nationals are the [favorite] to land Duchscherer. DC is near his son in NJ, and not in the brutal AL East. Os not out yet [though]." After spending the '09 season recovering from what he told MLB.com writer Brittany Ghiroli in an article entitled, "Duchscherer at full strength, in body and mind", was a "very minor" arthroscopic procedure on his right elbow, Duchscherer suffered back and shoulder issues and eventually missed the entire season after being diagnosed with clinical depression. The right-hander made five starts last season, throwing 28.0 innings in which the 6'3'' righty struck out 18 (5.8 K/9) and walked 12 (3.9 BB/9) to leave him (33-25) with a 3.13 ERA, 145 ERA+, 3.86 FIP and 347 K's (6.87 K/9) in 224 games, 34 GS and 454.2 IP over the course of his major league career.
The hip injury, diagnosed as, "a femoral acetabular" was described by MLB.com writer Jane Lee in a May '10 article entitled, "Duchscherer to miss rest of season", as an, "...impingement a congenital issue in his hips where the femur meets the joint," which required surgery from which Duchscherer told MLB.com's Ms. Ghiroli in a post last week entitled, "Duke on the Os, handling NY & why he won't be a relief option", he had "pretty much 100 percent" recovered from at this point.
The latest word, again from the Baltimore Sun's Dan Connolly on Twitter (@DanConnollySun) is that the, "The #Orioles and #Nats are left as 2 finalists for #Duchscherer. #Mariners are out. Also, Orioles have made a major-league offer for sure," but Mr. Connolly's sources don't know, "...if Nats offered [a] big-league [deal] or not."