Nats sign Guardado to minor-league deal

BY foxsports • December 22, 2009

The Washington Nationals and lefty reliever Eddie Guardado have agreed to terms on a minor-league contract.

Guardado went 1-2 with a 4.46 ERA in 48 relief outings for the Rangers this year. His role in the Washington bullpen isn’t yet clear, but he is expected to pitch in the seventh inning or later.

His signing won’t preclude the Nationals for signing closer Matt Capps, one source said. The Nationals are among the finalists to sign Capps after he was non-tendered by Pittsburgh earlier this month.

Guardado closed for the Twins and Mariners from roughly 2001 until 2006. He’s now considered one of the game’s best bullpen mentors; J.J. Putz and Frank Francisco are among the relievers who have credited him with helping them adjust to closing.

Guardado, 39, has appeared in 908 games since debuting in the majors in 1993. He decided to come back for an 18th major league season after a treatment program for his troublesome left knee yielded encouraging results.

The Nationals have already fortified their pitching staff this off-season, by signing starter Jason Marquis and reliever Brian Bruney. Even after announcing Marquis’ signing on Tuesday, the team remains interested in rotation upgrades, one source said.

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