- The Washington Times - Friday, January 27, 2006

Until Chad Cordero emerged last year with an impressive All-Star season, John Wetteland held the franchise’s single-season saves record. Now, they’ll be working together.

Yesterday, the Washington Nationals named Wetteland the club’s bullpen coach, filling the last vacancy on manager Frank Robinson’s coaching staff. Wetteland, a three-time American League All-Star, replaces Bob Natal in the Nationals bullpen.

Wetteland, 39, served as the Montreal Expos closer from 1992 to 1994. Wetteland saved 43 games for the Expos in 1993, which stood as the franchise’s record until Cordero saved 47 last season. Wetteland currently ranks fourth on the franchise’s all-time saves list with 105.

Wetteland spent the last three seasons as the Texas Rangers’ roving pitching instructor. With 330 saves in 12 big league seasons, Wetteland ranks ninth on baseball’s all-time saves list. He was MVP of the 1996 World Series with the New York Yankees.

“He’s been there and done that and he knows the game very well,” Nationals catcher Brian Schneider said. “He can help out the bullpen a lot and give them a lot of advice because he’s been there and he was very good at what he did.”

In other news, the Nationals signed a pair of major league veterans yesterday to minor league contracts. The Nationals agreed to terms with first baseman Daryle Ward and left-handed reliever Valerio de los Santos and invited both to next month’s spring training.

The left-handed hitting Ward hit. 260 with 12 home runs and 63 RBI last year with the Pittsburgh Pirates. A career .259 hitter, the 30-year-old Ward serves as an insurance policy in case injury-prone starting first baseman Nick Johnson suffers another setback this season.

De los Santos spent last season in the Florida Marlins bullpen and went 1-2 with a 6.14 ERA in 27 games. A nine-year veteran, de los Santos gives the Nationals another left-handed relief option.

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