The Washington Times - February 28, 2013, 05:44PM

VIERA, Fla. — While the Nationals have a pretty good idea of the 25 players they’ll be taking north with them at the end of the month, the one spot they have a small bit of flexibility is with the final spot in the bullpen. One left-hander who could be in the mix there is Fernando Abad.

A 27-year-old Dominican Republic native, Abad came up in the Houston Astros organization and has had mixed results in his major league career. As a rookie in 2010, Abad posted a 2.84 ERA in 22 appearances as a reliever but over the next two seasons he appeared in 66 games and worked to a 5.76 ERA.

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The Nationals are impressed with his arm, though, and manager Davey Johnson, applying the old theory that left-handers take longer to develop, said the team will “take a good look at him. He’ll be around here a while.”

“I was really impressed with the way he threw the other day,” Johnson said. “I’ve always liked his arm and the way he attacked the hitters (Thursday), he threw a couple good curveballs, that was great, command was good. (Pitching coach Steve McCatty) wanted him to go another inning I said ‘No, I want to see that (on Friday).’ He’ll come back with one day off and he’ll throw again. I was real pleased with that.”