- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 14, 2007

VIERA, Fla. — The Washington Nationals today signed Dmitri Young and Tony Batista to minor-league contracts and invited both veterans to join their accelerated spring-training camp, a pair of surprising moves that general manager Jim Bowden said was designed both to bolster the organization’s depth while also adding assets that eventually could be traded.

Neither player will report to big-league camp yet, but there’s reason to believe Young in particular could wind up with the major leaguers within a few weeks if he gets into shape. The 33-year-old former All-Star first baseman hit .250 with seven homers and 23 RBI in 48 games for the Detroit Tigers last year but was released in September following a spate of injuries and personal problems.

Young, who made two stints on the disabled list with a quadriceps strain, also spent time at a California rehabilitation center to undergo treatment for drug and alcohol addictions. Following his release in September, he was sentenced to one year of probation upon pleading guilty to charges of domestic violence.

“Dmitri Young has been through an awful lot personally over the last several years,” said Bowden, who was GM of the Cincinnati Reds when Young played there. “He’s been extremely apologetic for the mistakes he’s made in his life. He has asked for a second chance in life. He comes in knowing the organization has zero tolerance on any incident whatsoever that make take place. If it does happen, he’ll be released.”

Batista, 33, is a career .251 hitter with 219 homers for six clubs, including the Orioles, Expos and most recently Twins. The third baseman was released by Minnesota last summer after hitting only .236.

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