- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 14, 2009

Tavarez, not Cordero, for Nats’ bullpen

KISSIMMEE, Fla. — The Washington Nationals signed Julian Tavarez to a nonguaranteed minor league deal Friday, adding another veteran arm to their bullpen three days after they gave a similar contract to Kip Wells.

Tavarez is slated to be in big league camp next week, but he is still in the Dominican Republic with visa issues. The Nationals expect the 35-year-old to compete for a spot as a long reliever.

“There’s nothing wrong with competition in spring training,” acting general manager Mike Rizzo said. “We don’t want a lot of comfortable players in the clubhouse.”

Just as notable as Tavarez’s signing, however, is the Nationals’ decision not to sign a certain other reliever.

Chad Cordero, the team’s former closer, signed a minor league deal with Seattle on Thursday night. The Mariners reportedly believe Cordero can be their closer once his arm is fully recovered from surgery he had last summer to repair a torn labrum. A source close to Cordero said the Nationals were one of a handful of teams that watched the right-hander throw multiple times, but they never made an offer.

Cordero was angered by former general manager Jim Bowden’s radio revelation last July that the team would not offer him arbitration after the season. But with Bowden gone, the Nationals’ relationship with Cordero appeared to be moot.

NATIONALS 2, ASTROS 2 (10 INNINGS)

Washington tied for the second time this week, scoring a run in the sixth and a run in the seventh after Houston tagged starter Scott Olsen for a pair.

Olsen went four innings, giving up six hits and walking two. He said he threw all three of his pitches and pronounced himself happy with the progress he has made.

Brad Eldred hit a solo homer in the sixth inning off Clay Hensley, his third of the spring.

— Ben Goessling

TEMPERATURE CHECK

Brad Eldred [UP]

If he keeps hitting homers, Nationals might have a tough decision

Nationals’ bullpen [UP]

It’s about time; five relievers combined for six scoreless innings

Astros’ music selection [DOWN]

The Cha-Cha Slide? And the Macarena? Seriously?

BY THE NUMBERS

10 Teams that Julian Tavarez has pitched for before signing with the Nationals.

SATURDAY’S WEATHER

Washington: Rain, 43 degrees

Viera: Partly cloudy, 82 degrees

THREE-DAY SCHEDULE

Saturday: vs. Mets in Port St. Lucie, 1 p.m.

Sunday: vs. Tigers in Viera, 1 p.m.

Monday: vs. Marlins in Jupiter, 1 p.m.

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