PITTSBURGH — The Washington Nationals signed left-handed reliever Michael Gonzalez to a minor league deal on Tuesday. Gonzalez will report to Viera, Fla., where he’ll be evaluated by Nationals’ pitching coordinator Spin Williams before a decision on where he’ll report will be made.
Gonzalez, who pitched in 2011 for Baltimore and Texas, will most likely need some time in the minor leagues before the Nationals are ready to consider him for the major league roster.
“He’s a veteran left-handed relief pitcher that can give us some depth and some options for down the road,” said Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo.
Gonzalez, a Scott Boras client, pitched well for the Atlanta Braves from 2007-2009 but signed a two-year $12 million deal with the Orioles before the 2010 season that was mostly disastrous, with ERA’s over 4.00 both years. He was traded to the Rangers on Aug. 31, 2011 and pitched for them in the playoffs.
The Nationals were in talks with Boras about Gonzalez for some time as the lefty remained unemployed, but when right-hander Brad Lidge went down with an abdominal wall strain and required surgery to repair a sports hernia, the Nationals pursued him more aggressively.
“I scouted him for years with the Pirates and Braves,” Rizzo said. “I just like the way he gets after it. He’s got good clubhouse makeup and he’ll fit into the clubhouse very well.”