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Mike MacDougal is glad to be back with the Nationals

Reliever Mike MacDougal arrived this afternoon at Space Coast Stadium, returning to the team he wanted to play for all along. MacDougal, who agreed to terms with the Nationals yesterday, enjoyed his time with the Nationals last and hoped he would come back before the Nationals did not tender him a contract.

"I really liked it here," MacDougal said. "I really never wanted to leave. It's good to be back."

MacDougal had an out clause in his contract with the Florida Marlins, he said, and he opted to leave when it became clear the Marlins were unsure if he would have a place on their 25-man roster. General Manager Mike Rizzo contacted MacDougal's agent, and MacDougal agreed to come back.

"I decided I was comfortable here," MacDougal said. "I figured I'd go with what I know. I've got a great manager and a great pitching coach. We'll go from there."

MacDougal walked seven batters in 4 2/3 innings with the Marlins, the main reason he allowed five runs. MacDougal said his main focus in on pounding strikes, which pitching coach Steve McCatty emphasized for him last year.

"The opportunity should be pretty good," MacDougal said. "I threw well for them last year. I probably came into spring training a little behind. I just got to go out there and pitch well."

While Rizzo said yesterday that "something extraordinary would have to happen" for MacDougal to land on the opening day roster, MacDougal feels he is competing for a spot in the bullpen.

"Of course," MacDougal said. "If you weren't doing that, then why be here, right?"

By Adam Kilgore  |  March 25, 2010; 3:49 PM ET
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