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Duncan signs with Nats

The Nationals have signed former Cardinals outfielder and first baseman Chris Duncan to a minor league contract.

According to Duncan's agent, the powerful lefty was hindered last season by neck trouble that altered his swing. But he is supposedly healthy now and, although he signed a minor league deal, Duncan is hopeful of winning a major league job in spring training.

There was a push on some fronts to bring Duncan back after the controversy that cropped up when he was traded to the Red Sox organization for Julio Lugo. But it's probably for the best to let him wipe the slate clean and start fresh with a new organization.

Duncan's father, Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan was miffed that Chris was traded for a player on waivers. But with the addition of Mark DeRosa and later Matt Holliday, there would have been nowhere for the younger Duncan to play in St. Louis.

If Duncan's neck was to blame for his struggles at the plate, he is at least partially to blame for his own exit from the Cardinals. He reportedly hid his injury from the team and didn't get proper treatment, convincing the front office that he simply couldn't hit anymore.