Lefty reliever Sipp passes physical, signs with Nationals

              FILE - In this Oct. 16, 2018, file photo, Houston Astros relief pitcher Tony Sipp throws against the Boston Red Sox during the sixth inning in Game 3 of a baseball American League Championship Series, in Houston. A person familiar with the deal tells The Associated Press that left-handed reliever Tony Sipp and the Washington Nationals have agreed in principle on a one-year contract that guarantees $1.25 million and includes a mutual option for 2020.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity Wednesday, March 13, 2019, because the deal was pending the successful completion of a physical exam. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Left-handed reliever Tony Sipp has passed his physical and signed a one-year contract with the Washington Nationals that guarantees him $1.25 million and includes a mutual option for 2020.

The Nationals announced an agreement with Sipp on Thursday.

The 35-year-old Sipp was 3-1 with a career-best 1.86 ERA in 54 games for the Houston Astros last season, with 42 strikeouts and 13 walks in 38 2/3 innings.

Lefty batters hit .191 with a .263 on-base percentage against Sipp in 2018.

Sipp makes a $1 million salary in 2019. The contract includes a $2.5 million mutual option for next year, with a $250,000 buyout.

This move gives Washington’s rebuilt bullpen someone to use in a key spot against left-handed batters — such as Bryce Harper, the former Nationals slugger who joined NL East rival Philadelphia.