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Perez returns to D.C.

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The Washington Nationals signed Odalis Perez to a nonguaranteed minor league contract Thursday, bringing the veteran left-hander back after a surprisingly strong 2008.

Perez, who came to camp last year on a similar deal, wound up earning the Opening Night assignment. He finished the season 7-12 with a 4.34 ERA.

The 34-year-old will have a shot at making the rotation again. At the moment, only three starters seem assured of jobs: John Lannan, Scott Olsen and Daniel Cabrera. Perez will compete with Collin Balester, Jordan Zimmermann, Shawn Hill and Jason Bergmann for the remaining two spots.

- Mark Zuckerman

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