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Former Nats reliever Zach Duke has signed a minor league deal to join the Milwaukee Brewers, a popular destination for ex-Nationals southpaws these days. Last year both Tom Gorzelanny and Michael Gonzalez signed with the Brew Crew, now Duke will follow.
Duke began 2013 with the Nationals and struggled with an 8.71 ERA through 12 appearances. In 20 2/3 innings he gave up 20 runs on 31 hits and eight walks.
Duke made one start for the Nats in an emergency situation on May 20 against the Giants. It was a disaster as the Nationals lost 8-0, and Duke was designated for assignment less than a week later.
Duke found a new home with the Reds and joined them in late August. There he was revitalized and held a 0.84 ERA in 14 games for Cincinnati in a pennant race. His numbers over the course of the year were still ugly from his time with the Nats, but Duke proved he was worth another shot in 2014 with how he finished last season.
Now the 30-year-old will head to spring training hoping for a spot in Milwaukee's bullpen which was a strength of theirs in 2013. The Brewers ranked third in the NL with a 3.19 ERA from their relief pitchers.