- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 24, 2005

Veteran free agent reliever Mike Stanton made a good enough impression in his two-month stint with the Washington Nationals for the club to sign him to a one-year, $1million deal last night.

“Mike did a solid job for us last year coming out of the bullpen,” Nationals general manager Jim Bowden said “He kept us in games. He’s also a very important part in developing our young pitchers. He’s been to the World Series and played with champions and winners.”

Stanton, 38, returns to Washington after being traded to the Boston Red Sox during the final weekend of the season for right-handed pitching prospects Rhys Taylor and Yader Peralta.

Last season, the left-hander went 2-1 with a 3.58 ERA in 30 games for the Nationals. By signing Stanton, the Nationals will head into spring training with the same left-handed relievers — Joey Eischen and Stanton — they used for most of the second half of last season.

“He and Joey are a good combo on the left side,” Bowden said. “Our bullpen was not one of our problems last year.”

The Nationals picked up Stanton for the league minimum at the All-Star break after he was released by the New York Yankees on July11. Stanton made an inauspicious debut for the Nationals when he balked home the winning run without throwing a pitch in a 4-3 loss at the Milwaukee Brewers on July15.

Stanton, who has a 60-53 career record with a 3.80 ERA, is seventh on baseball’s all-time appearances list with 1,027 games and just 23 short of tying Kent Tekulve for sixth place.

The Red Sox traded for Stanton to have an extra arm heading into their crucial season-ending series with the Yankees, but he pitched just one inning after the deal.

Stanton ranked sixth in the major leagues by stranding 81 percent of inherited baserunners (34-for-42). Left-handers hit just .235 off him with only two extra-base hits in 85 at-bats.

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