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Robert Fick says he had offers to leave Washington, even a guaranteed major league deal.
But the veteran utilityman signed a one-year minor league deal yesterday that will pay him $850,000 only if he makes the Nationals' opening-day roster, hoping to make up for a lost 2005 season.
"I have a lot to prove," said Fick, who batted .266 with two homers and nine RBIs last season in 60 games. "I just want to show them it's in me. I've been working hard here in the offseason. You're going to see a different guy there in spring training. I know it."
Fick has a .261 career average over nine seasons and was a 2002 all-star, but last season, spring training elbow surgery stalled his start and he never got on track.
Behind Daryle Ward and Marlon Anderson on the Nationals' bench, Fick was a seldom-used bench player, often as a last-resort pinch-hitter and back-up catcher.
With Ward and Anderson gone, Fick said he was confident he would make the Nationals' opening day roster--and get more playing time.
Fick could spell first baseman Nick Johnson, who had surgery to repair his broken right femur in September.
And with the team expected to give Rule 5 draft pick Jesus Flores a shot to be the team's back-up catcher, Fick could provide insurance behind the plate.
"I'm going to be on the team. I'm not worried," Fick said. "I realize there is an opportunity to get 250 to 350 at-bats in D.C. There's no Soriano. There's no Vidro. Nick Johnson has the injury, so they'll need someone to play first base."
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