Nats add minor-league pitching depth

Nats add minor-league pitching depth
January 10, 2013, 4:00 pm
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Hoping to address their need for pitching depth, the Nationals have signed a pair of hurlers with big-league starting experience to minor-league contracts: right-hander Ross Ohlendorf and left-hander Sean West, according to Baseball America.

Ohlendorf and West have made a combined 95 starts in the major leagues, though with limited success. Each figures to open the season at Class AAA Syracuse and serve as alternatives in case a member of the Nationals' already-set, big-league rotation suffers an injury.

Ohlendorf, 30, owns a career 18-32 record and 5.10 ERA in 108 games (73 starts) with the Yankees, Pirates and Padres. An 11-game winner with a 3.92 ERA for Pittsburgh in 2009, he has dealt with shoulder trouble in recent years and made only 22 big-league appearances the last two seasons (his ERA skyrocketing to 7.94).

A Princeton graduate with a degree in operations research and financial engineering, the 6-foot-4 Ohlendorf was designated for assignment by the Padres in September and became a free agent after the season.

West, 26, went 8-8 with a 5.03 ERA in 22 combined starts for the Marlins in 2009-10. After spending 2011 at Class AAA New Orleans, he missed all of last season due to injuries.

The 6-foot-8 lefty was a first-round pick in 2005.

After losing several pitching prospects in the last calendar year via trades or the Rule 5 draft, the Nationals continue to look for more outside options to help fill out their Class AAA rotation and ensure backup options in the event of injury.

That search includes a veteran with considerable big-league experience: Javier Vazquez. The 36-year-old right-hander -- owner of a career 165-160 record and 4.22 ERA in 443 starts with the Expos, Yankees, Diamondbacks, White Sox, Braves and Marlins -- announced his retirement following the 2011 season but is attempting a comeback.

Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo reportedly was among those who scouted Vazquez in person Wednesday night in Puerto Rico. With several others also interested in the veteran, the Nationals could find themselves losing out to another club that can offer a better opportunity to make an Opening Day roster.

Vazquez has said he doesn't plan to sign with anyone until after he pitches in the World Baseball Classic in March.