Nats sign Zach Duke to minor league deal, option Perry, release Michaels

VIERA, Fla. - The Nationals beat the Braves 6-3 today, but the game notes will have to get pushed aside for a few minutes with news of a few roster moves.

The Nats have signed left-handed pitcher Zach Duke to a minor league contract. Duke was released by the Astros earlier this week.

Duke, 28, has a career record of 48-74 with an ERA of 4.56. He spent last year with the Diamondbacks, going 3-4 with a 4.93 ERA.

The lefty will likely be added to the rotation at Triple-A Syracuse.

"Our depth is not what it was last year, the starting pitching at that level," manager Davey Johnson said after today's game. "That was a good pick-up."

Meanwhile, after making three cuts earlier today, the Nats made one more following today's game, optioning right-handed pitcher Ryan Perry to Triple-A.

Perry allowed two runs in eight innings this spring (2.25 ERA) with two walks and nine strikeouts.

The Nats also officially released Jason Michaels, making the veteran outfielder a free agent. Michaels was reassigned to minor league camp earlier today.

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