- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 12, 2009

VIERA, Fla. | The Washington Nationals agreed to terms with right-hander Kip Wells on a nonguaranteed minor league deal, the team announced Wednesday afternoon, adding the 31-year-old veteran presumably to bolster a bullpen that has struggled all spring.

The deal would pay Wells $500,000 if he makes the major league team.

Wells made 25 appearances last season with Colorado and Kansas City, starting two games and making 13 of his appearances in the eighth inning or later. In a career with six different teams, Wells is 65-94 with a 4.67 ERA.

But acting general manager Mike Rizzo said Wells threw between 90 and 93 mph in a 50-pitch bullpen session for scout Jimmy Gonzalez.

“We don’t have delusions of grandeur, but we think he’s going to have a chance to come in, he’ll have an opportunity to prove himself, have a shot at a bullpen spot and possible a move up to the rotation,” Rizzo said. “We’re not sure where he’s at spring training-wise, but we know he’s got good stuff and a good arm.”

Wells has dealt with medical issues the last several seasons; he pitched just nine games in 2006 after developing blood clots in his right arm that required surgery. He had another operation to remove blood clots from his right hand last season.

Rizzo said team doctor Wiemi Douoguih examined Wells and the pitcher “passed the physical environments just fine.”

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