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Duensing, Cubs complete two-year deal

Veteran left-hander worked in 68 games for Chicago last season
MLB.com @CarrieMuskat

CHICAGO -- The Cubs welcomed Brian Duensing back on Monday, signing the left-handed reliever to a two-year, $7 million deal.

Duensing, who turns 35 next month, ranked second among Cubs relievers last season in innings pitched (62 1/3) in his first season with the team. He posted a 2.74 ERA in 68 appearances, striking out 61. He became a free agent after the season. The agreement on a deal was first reported last week.

CHICAGO -- The Cubs welcomed Brian Duensing back on Monday, signing the left-handed reliever to a two-year, $7 million deal.

Duensing, who turns 35 next month, ranked second among Cubs relievers last season in innings pitched (62 1/3) in his first season with the team. He posted a 2.74 ERA in 68 appearances, striking out 61. He became a free agent after the season. The agreement on a deal was first reported last week.

His return gives the Cubs at least three lefties in the bullpen, joining Mike Montgomery and Justin Wilson. However, Montgomery may be in the rotation if the Cubs don't add another starter this offseason. The Cubs have been linked to free-agent starters Yu Darvish, Jake Arrieta and Alex Cobb, all of whom remain unsigned.

So far this offseason, the Cubs have focused on pitching, signing relievers Dario Alvarez, Brandon Morrow, and Steve Cishek and adding starters Tyler Chatwood and Drew Smyly, although Smyly is coming back from elbow surgery and is not expected to contribute in 2018.

Duensing reportedly had other offers but wanted to remain with Chicago. He began last season on the disabled list with a back problem and gave up six runs in his first five appearances, but pitched to a 2.05 ERA in his final 63 outings, limiting opponents to a .232 batting average and .299 on-base percentage while recording a 1.18 WHIP.

Duensing took to Twitter on Monday to share his excitement:

Tweet from @BrianDuensing52: My family and I are excited to be back in Chicago to try and win a ring with the @Cubs Thank you for all the kind words from everybody. #youcandanceifyouwantto #oryoucanleaveyourfriendsbehind

The two hashtags are reference to the Cubs' relievers celebratory dancing in the bullpen after one of their teammates hits a home run.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.

Chicago Cubs, Brian Duensing