- The Washington Times - Monday, January 17, 2005

The Washington Nationals agreed to a one-year, $2.26million contract with right-handed pitcher Tony Armas Jr., avoiding an arbitration hearing.

With Armas’ signing, right-hander Tomo Ohka is the only arbitration-eligible Nationals player left unsigned. Interim general manager Jim Bowden said Friday he expected Ohka to go to arbitration.

Tomorrow is Major League Baseball’s deadline for clubs to sign players before heading in front of a three-judge panel for salary arbitration hearings.

Armas, 26, is expected to be in the Nationals’ starting rotation. After ace Livan Hernandez, manager Frank Robinson’s No.2 through No.5 starters won’t be sorted out until spring training.

However, shoulder troubles have limited Armas to 103 innings in 21 starts over the past two seasons. The Venezuelan native is 32-41 with a 4.21 ERA in 102 major league starts in six seasons, all with the Montreal Expos.

Last season, Armas went 2-4 with a 4.88 ERA in just 16 starts. He had season-ending right shoulder surgery May23, 2003, and did not make his debut until June1. Montreal went 8-8 in Armas’ starts.

Armas is the son of Tony Armas Sr., who led the major leagues in home runs (43) and RBI (123) in 1984 as a member of the Boston Red Sox.

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